MIT Fraternity Accused Of Robot Hazing

Top Headlines

Recent News

Journeyman Fan Joins Sixth NFL Team In 5 Years

HELENA, MT—Continuing his lengthy trek around the league, sources confirmed Friday that 36-year-old journeyman fan Brian Ferretti has joined the Arizona Cardinals, his sixth team in the past five years.

Is The Nation Ready For The Next Katrina?

Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and many commentators have argued that not enough has been done over the past decade to address infrastructure and emergency response issues that could put coastal cities nationwide, including New Orleans, at risk of a catastrophe on a similar scale. Is the nation prepared for another Katrina?

Department Of Labor Study Confirms Your Job Most Demanding

‘None Of Your Friends Understand How Hard It Is,’ Report Reads

WASHINGTON—Noting that the level of mental strain associated with the profession was far and away the highest recorded, a federal study on workplace conditions and occupational stress released Thursday has confirmed that your job is the most demanding career in the entire nation, and that none of your friends or family fully understand how hard it is.

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.
End Of Section
  • More News
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Good Times

Area Man

This Great Song, Bar Sources Report

TOMAH, WI—Pausing their conversations momentarily to call attention to the music playing on the establishment’s jukebox, sources at local bar Shepherd’s confirmed to reporters Friday that this is a great song.

MIT Fraternity Accused Of Robot Hazing

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Several members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology chapter of the Theta Tau fraternity are in campus-police custody today following a brutal hazing incident in which one robot remains missing and two others are in critical condition with extensive circuitry and servo-motor injuries, sources revealed Monday.

AMBLE5, top, and Bradbury, bottom, two of the pledgebots victimized in the latest on-campus incident of robo-hazing.

The robots, experimental prototypes recently devised at MIT's prestigious Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, were participating in an apparent initiation exercise that police say involved butyl alcohol and compressed air.

According to eyewitnesses, the three robots were ripped from their chargers at the Theta Tau chapter house at 3 a.m. Tuesday. One, a titanium-alloy hexapod approximately 13 inches in diameter, was reportedly forced to climb stairs built at a grade too steep for its small hinged legs, causing six of its pneumatic actuators to short out. A second robot, a biped from MIT's Leg Laboratory, was allegedly forced to replicate "the same humiliating hopping algorithm" 200,000 times, and is currently in critical condition in the laboratory's emergency-repair room.

The third robot, a tread-driven 38-inch-tall rover, is feared drowned after being forced to consume over 40 terabytes of data and then swim across the Charles River with a burning candle stuck in its rear port.

"We will thoroughly investigate this matter, and take strong disciplinary action," MIT Dean of Students Geraldine Knight said. "These robots are extremely artificially intelligent. They wouldn't willingly subject themselves to this sort of abuse without extreme levels of peer pressure or even downright reprogramming."

MIT students discuss the robo-hazing incident at The Thirsty Scholar, a popular local hangout.

Among those detained for questioning were Theta Tau chapter president David Kovis, treasurer Charles Leung, and fraternity members Lee Berger, Andy Ockridge, A. Muduthanapally, and Chen Kwan Tan. They could be charged with first-degree botslaughter and operating a motorized robot under the influence, charges that carry a maximum punishment of lifetime banishment from the MIT Media lab.

This is not the first case of robot hazing on the campus. Last fall, during "Rush Week," a spider-legged unit was found struggling in a closet at MIT's School of Engineering, stripped of its outer casing, its motion sensors covered with duct tape. The perpetrators were never found.

On another occasion, a robot was locked in a room and forced to calculate pi to the 1083 decimal place in what officials called one of the worst cases of binge-thinking they'd ever seen.

This latest incident comes in the wake of a February episode in which an ambulating chatbot device created at Caltech was programmed to repeat the phrase "I am a faggot" while locomoting across campus.

Robots have also reportedly been made to fight each other, often to total annihilation, in the basements of applied-science-based campus fraternal organizations during their respective "hell weeks."

The Theta Tau fraternity house where the alleged systems abuse took place.

A spokesman for the Theta Tau fraternity claimed that the "fun just got out of hand," and that the robot pledges were "100 percent cool with the initiation."

"They showed us they were willing to do anything to be Theta Tau brothers. Loyalty, commitment, and conformity are what the Greek system is all about," the spokesman said.

In protest, human-emotion-simulator robot Kismet, a respected member of the  MIT community, announced that it will  only display an expression of disapproval—refusing to smile, show fear, or raise a curious eyebrow—until those responsible receive appropriate punishment.