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CE00315-2 Professional and Enterprise Development Killer Robot Report 1 SILICON VALLEY PROGRAMMER INDICTED FOR MANSLAUGHTER. PROGRAM ERROR CAUSED DEATH OF ROBOT OPERATOR. DEVELOPMENT TEAM WORKED UNDER ENORMOUS STRESS. Exclusive to the SILICON VALLEY SENTINEL-OBSERVER Silicon Valley, USA

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8 9Jane McMurdock, Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Silicon Valley, announced today the indictment of 10Randy Samuels on charges of manslaughter. Samuels was formerly employed as a programmer at Silicon 11Techtronics, Inc., one of Silicon Valley's newest entries into the high technology arena. The charge involves 12the death of Bart Matthews, who was killed last May by an assembly line robot. 13 14Matthews, who worked as a robot operator at Cybernetics, Inc., in Silicon Heights, was crushed to death 15when the robot he was operating malfunctioned and started to wave its "arm" violently. The robot arm struck 16Matthews, throwing him against a wall and crushing his skull. Matthews died almost instantly in a case which 17shocked and angered many in Silicon Valley. According to the indictment, Samuels wrote the module of the 18computer software which was responsible for the robot malfunction. 19 20"There's a smoking gun!" McMurdock announced triumphantly at a press conference held in the Hall of 21Justice. "We have the hand-written formula, provided by the project physicist, which Samuels was supposed 22to program. He negligently misinterpreted the formula, leading to this gruesome death. Society must protect 23itself against programmers who make careless mistakes or no one will be safe, least of all our families and 24our children", she said. 25 26The Sentinel-Observer has been able to obtain a copy of the hand- written formula in question. There are, in 27fact, three similar formulae, scrawled on a piece of yellow legal pad paper. Each formula describes the 28motion of the robot arm in one direction: east-west, north-south and up-down. 29 30The Sentinel-Observer showed the formulas to Bill Park, a Professor of Physics at Silicon Valley University. 31He confirmed that these equations could be used to describe the motion of a robot arm. The Sentinel32Observer then showed Professor Park the program code, written by the accused in the C programming 33language. We asked Professor Park, who is fluent in C and several other languages, whether the program 34code was correct for the given robot arm formulas. 35 36Professor Park's response was immediate. "By Jove! It looks like he misinterpreted the y-dots in the 37formulas as y-bars and he made the same mistake for the x's and the z's. He was supposed to use the 38derivatives, but he took the averages instead! He's guilty as hell, if you ask me." The Sentinel-Observer was 39unable to contact Samuels for comment. "He is deeply depressed about all this", his live-in girlfriend told us 40over the phone. "But, Randy believes he will be acquitted when he gets a chance to tell his side of the 41story." 42 43It is common knowledge with the industry that Randy Samuels and others who worked on the 'killer robot' 44project were under tremendous pressure to finish the robot software by January 1 of this year. According to 45an informed source, top level management warned the killer robot project team that "heads would roll" if the 46January 1st deadline was not met. 47 48According to Silicon Valley Prosecuting Attorney Jane McMurdock, Samuels misinterpretation of a 49mathematical formula, "turned harmless Robbie into a savage killer". 50Our informed source, who wishes to remain anonymous and whom we shall call 'Martha' for the rest of this 51article, has intimate knowledge of all aspects of the Robbie CX30 project. Martha told the Sentinel-Observer 52that there was an enormous amount of friction between Robotics Division Chief Ray Johnson 4

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CE00315-2 Professional and Enterprise Development Killer Robot Report 1

1 2and the Robbie CX30 Project Manager Sam Reynolds. "They hated each others' guts", Martha told the 3Sentinel-Observer in an exclusive interview. 4 5"By June of last year the robot project had fallen six months behind schedule and Johnson went through the 6roof. There were rumors that the entire Robotics Division, which he headed, would be terminated if Robbie 7[the CX30 robot] didn't prove to be a commercial success. He [Johnson] called Sam [Reynolds] into his 8office and he really chewed Sam out. I mean you could hear the yelling all the way down the hall. 9 10Johnson told Sam to finish Robbie by the first of January or 'heads would roll'." "I'm not saying that Johnson 11was ordering Sam to cut corners", Martha added. "I think the idea of cutting corners was implicit. The 12message was, 'cut corners if you want to keep your job'". 13 14According to documents which Martha provided the Sentinel-Observer, twenty new programmers were 15added to the Robbie CX30 project on June 12th of last year. This was just several days after the stormy 16meeting between Johnson and Reynolds which Martha recounted. 17According to Martha, the new staff were a disaster. 18 19"Johnson unilaterally arranged for these new staff to be on the team, presumably by shifting resources from 20other aspects of the Robbie [CX30] project. Reynolds was vehemently opposed to this. Johnson only knew 21about manufacturing hardware. That was his background. He couldn't understand the difficulties that we 22were having with the robotics software. You can't speed up a software project by adding more people. It's 23not like an assembly line." 24 25According to Martha and other sources inside the project, the hiring of twenty new programmers led to a 26staff meeting attended by Johnson, Reynolds and all members of the Robbie CX30 software project. 27 28"This time it was Sam [Reynolds] who went through the roof. He complained that the project didn't need 29more people. He argued that the main problem was that Johnson and other management people did not 30understand that Robbie CX30 was fundamentally different from earlier versions of the robot". These sources 31tell the Sentinel-Observer that the new staff were not fully integrated into the project, even six months later, 32when ten Robbie CX30 robots, including the robot which killed Bart Matthews, were shipped to their 33customers. According to Martha, "Sam just wanted to keep things as simple as possible. He didn't want the 34new people to complicate matters. They spent six months reading manuals. Most of the new hirees 35didn't know diddly about robots and Sam wasn't about to waste his time trying to teach them". 36 37According to Martha, the June 12th meeting has become famous in Silicon Techtronics corporate lore 38because it was at that meeting that Ray Johnson announced his "Ivory Snow Theory" of software design 39and development. According to Martha, "Ray [Johnson] gave us a big multi-media presentation, with slides 40and everything. The gist of his 'Ivory Snow Theory' is simply that Ivory Snow is 99.44 per cent pure and 41there was no reason why robotics software had to be any purer than that. He stated repeatedly that 'Perfect 42software is an oxymoron'". 43 44Martha and the other insiders who came forward with information, consistently portrayed Johnson as a 45manager who was in desperate need of a successful project. Earlier versions of Robbie, the CX10 and the 46CX20, were experimental in nature and no one expected them to be commercial successes. In fact, the 47Robotics Division of Silicon Techtronics had operated heavily in the red since its inception six years ago. 48Either CX30 would succeed or Silicon Techtronics would be out of the industrial robotics business 49altogether." 50 51The earlier Robbie robots got a lot of press, especially here in Silicon Valley", said another source, who also 52wishes to remain anonymous. "Robbie CX30 was expected to capitalize on the good publicity generated by 53the earlier projects. The only thing was that Robbie CX30 was much more revolutionary than Johnson 54wanted to admit. The CX30 represented a gigantic step forward in terms of sophistication. There were a lot 55of questions about the industrial environment that the CX30 would be working in. Much of what we had to do 56was entirely new, but Johnson couldn't bring himself to understand that. He just saw us as unyielding 57perfectionists. One of his favorite quotes was 'Perfection is the enemy of the good'". 4

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CE00315-2 Professional and Enterprise Development Killer Robot Report 1

Tutorial on the Case of the Killer Robots will require all students read and print the report before the tutorial session. In your group: 1. 2. 3. Summarize the report and present it as a background to the class (one team will be chosen for this, only a short 5 minutes summary of report) Discuss why adding more programmers to the project becomes a problem in this scenario Identify issues with team work/project management/people management in this scenario (students are strongly encouraged to do independent reading on Project Management slides)

Individually: 4.
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Relate Boehms Top 10 risk factor to this scenario (choose one or two suitable risk factor(s), independent task, may individually refer to tutor for verification)

4SUMMARY 5 6While the software module written by Randy Samuels did cause the Robbie CX30 robot to oscillate 7out of control and attack its human operator, a good interface design would have allowed the 8operator to terminate the erratic robot behavior. Based upon an analysis of the robot user interface 9using Shneiderman's eight golden rules, this interface design expert has come to the conclusion that 10the interface designer, and not the programmer, was the more guilty party in this unfortunate fiasco.

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