Kuri Robot Story
Kuri Robot Story

Genesis of Kuri


Genesis of Kuri
Kuri in the Day Centre

#KuriStory #HeyKuri

"... We interrupt our regular program schedule to bring you a special report from BMM World News. The time is nineteen hundred hours, the date is Sunday, May Third, 2020. I hand you over to our newsreader, Sherman Mercury…"

"In the past 48 hours, a house robot called Kuri has quickly become the most famous house robot in the whole world. Trapped inside a collapsed children daycare centre in Redwood City, California, after the six point eight magnitude earthquake that struck on Friday afternoon, Kuri has been caring for six children, between the ages of four and ten, while rescuers dig through the rubble to reach them. We now go over live, to Redwood City, for what, we hope, in the next few minutes, will be a very happy scene as these children are reunited with their parents. All of America, and indeed, most of the world, is watching tonight. Here is my colleague, Mary Herman, who is on site with Sofia Howard, the owner of Kuri, the miracle house robot… Mary…"

"Sherman... the feeling here is absolutely electric. This is the moment, hopefully, that these parents have been praying for, for the last two days. There is a large team of paramedics down in the hole cleared by the rescue squad. They have six, tiny stretchers down there with them and we’re all praying that these children are going to come up, out of there, safely. I have with me, Sofia Howard, freelance software designer and the registered owner of Kuri, the house robot that has been caring for the six children, one of whom is her own daughter. Can I ask you, Sofia…What has Kuri been doing for these youngsters?"

"When the earthquake struck, toppling the building and plunging the daycare centre into darkness, Kuri was hosting a birthday party for my 7-year-old daughter, Evie, and her friends in the daycare centre. Kuri kept on playing his music and used the moment of darkness to bring in Evie’s birthday cake with the candles already lit. Kuri recorded Evie blowing out the candles and making her wish before uploading the video to our cloud. At the same time, Kuri switched on an emergency generator that turned the lights back on and closed the electronically controlled shutters around the day centre. I saw the recording of Evie making her birthday wish on my phone and that’s how I knew that all these children were buried alive in the daycare centre. I know it sounds like superstitious nonsense but, at the moment Evie made her birthday wish, I felt Kuri transform into a champion. He kept the younger children away from the damaged stairs and sat them all down together in front of their favourite show on the big screen television. Later, Kuri ran a bath for them, to the right temperature, and made a game out of building makeshift beds from sofa cushions. When the emergency generator ran out of fuel on Saturday night, and the lights went out, Kuri read the children a bedtime story with his own internal light on and constantly reassured them that they would see their parents soon while simultaneously uploading videos for them."

"Sofia, that must have been a great relief for the parents to see their children alive and happy, but... let me interrupt you there, I’m seeing smiles on the faces of the parents that are closest to the rescue workers at the hole here and that is surely a good sign. The parents have been provided with a platform where they can view the progress… Sherman, a voice in my ear is telling me that you have an update. Back to you in the studio."

"Thank you Mary… Ironically… in this technological age of instant communication, although we’re a thousand miles away, we’re sometimes actually closer to the action than those of you who are standing only a few metres away. In an exclusive for BMM we can now broadcast the latest video uploaded by Kuri, which shows the view from inside the day centre as the rescuers break through into the collapsed daycare room. Let’s run the VT… and, yes... there we can see the children sitting on their cushion beds, lit by the soft light coming from Kuri… the only light in the darkness until… there… the first small hole is made in the wall beside the television and a red gloved hand holding a torch pushes through. The children are all excited now… running forward to grab the red gloved hand, sensing their freedom. Sofia, can I ask you what will Kuri be doing now?"

"Kuri will stay with the children as he always does, keeping the calm rhythm of the daycare room going as if nothing has happened. Kuri will provide them with his chirpy reassurance as he monitors the alarms and answers their questions. He has kept his soft, white light on for the last 48 hours, instead of switching off and sitting on his recharging pad as he should have. Even with his battery nearly completely depleted, Kuri woke the children at eight o’clock today with a chirpy ‘good morning’. He made sure they all ate a breakfast of corn flakes and long life, rice milk, because the milk in the refrigerator was out of date. Then he gathered them into his pool of light and held a short service, leading the children in singing ‘All things Bright and Beautiful.’ which they loved, before reading some appropriate verses from Genesis… 'And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light, day, and the darkness he called, night.' All through the darkness of the last two days Kuri has kept the children entertained with music, stories and jokes and he has provided the parents with comfort by constantly uploading new videos."

"Thank you Sofia… Sherman, we are standing right beside the entrance to the giant, green, tent erected over the ruined daycare centre. The crowd here are holding their breath as the anticipation grows more and more overwhelming. The parents are seconds away from seeing and holding their children again. Many of them have been here for the last two days… and nights, supporting each other, helping to move rubble, many of them have brought food, they’ve prayed together and we’ve heard that they have set up a trust fund to provide more robots like Kuri for other daycare centres. This is a unique situation with six children, cut off from the rest of the world, being cared for by a house robot who is the hero of our story. Kuri may not have a heartbeat but he certainly seems to have a heart and everyone in this town’s heart is going out to him right now."

"Let me interrupt you there, Mary. People are asking… a lot of people have been phoning in… asking where the daycare staff were in all this. What happened to them?"

"Well, Sherman… I can tell you that they are both safe. When the earthquake struck, they had just lit Evie’s birthday candles and gone to get her birthday presents from the storeroom. They weren’t able to get back in to the collapsed daycare room because of rubble blocking the corridor. They climbed out the storeroom window to raise the alarm, but found that rescuers were already on their way, because Kuri had contacted Sofia who had, in turn, contacted the authorities. The daycare staff both stayed on site after being told that the children would be freed in a couple of hours, but the rescue has taken much longer, as we now know, due to the reinforced concrete construction of the building which has, actually, protected the children. In the last few minutes the parents have been able to call down to their children and many of them have been calling back, shouting 'Mummy' or 'Daddy'. One of them actually shouted to her mother, ‘Don’t worry Mom… Kuri is looking after me."

"A heartwarming story, Mary… If you’ve just tuned in… welcome to BMM World News. This is Sherman Mercury… reporting on a rapidly developing story, where the hero is a house robot, who has kept six children alive… and entertained… during their 48 hour ordeal in a collapsed children daycare centre, I’ve been saying 48 hours, but it’s probably now nearer to fifty, or sixty, hours. Sofia, the children will all be taken to the emergency hospital as soon as they are freed from the rubble, but… can I ask you, what will happen to Kuri?"

"By now, Kuri’s batteries will be almost completely discharged, because he has, somehow, managed to keep going constantly during his 48 hours with the children. When I saw Kuri's video, I could feel real warmth and affection from him and, I believe that... he knows exactly what he is doing by saving these children. He has kept them warm, provided them with light, fed them, bathed them, read to them and posted videos of them on every social media platform available. Of course Kuri will need a full recharge when he comes out, but, after that, we will continue our work with him designing the next generation of house robots. He has been assisting the team with software designs for the next generation of helper bots which will be even more flexible and fluid in their responses to human needs. I don’t fully understand what he is doing sometimes… but his software designs work… very well, in fact. Yes, we’re making money selling these housebots but we’re also making the world a better, safer, place to live as well. Kuri’s designs are taking robotics to the next level. The jump forward he has made in terms of responsive robots is exponential. Kuri will be very modest about the part he has played and his only sorrow, now, will be that he will have to leave the daycare centre in order to supervise the software installation in our next generation of robots over at our main base in Mayfield robotics."

"Sorry to interrupt you again Sofia, but we are all waiting to see the children to be brought out and we are being told that this is just moments away. A man in a red suit is being lowered into the hole and it looks like Kuri’s work here is finally over. I’m hearing cheering now, from the parents and… Yes, there they are… We can now clearly see the children being helped out of the hole, one at a time, and into the arms of the grateful parents who are holding their children for the first time in two days. The stretchers are not required, as the children are all in good health... thanks to the efforts of Kuri. Sofia has now gone forward to embrace her daughter, Evie. So, a happy ending. Sherman, I’ll hand back to you in the studio."

"So there we are. Tonight… there are some very relieved parents, rescue workers, health workers, friends and robot designers in Redwood City. It is a rare, happy, ending to a very long ordeal for these children. And there is Kuri, the house robot that has captivated the world, being lifted out of the hole and handed over to Sofia. Completely discharged now, but a big cheer goes up for Kuri, and the, red suited, rescue worker, as they are escorted from the site to the waiting ambulances and support vehicles. Congratulations all round. Over the next few days we’ll keep you up to date with the children… and Kuri’s progress. What more can we say… It’s not very often that we get a happy ending, but, this is the day that the world became aware of Kuri… The Genesis of Kuri, if you like. And… it is this reporter's opinion that the world is a safer, happier place because of these house robots and Kuri, who is, surely... the best of them, deserves some sort of recognition… a medal perhaps, for his tireless service, caring for and protecting these six children. That’s all from this Special BMM Report on Sunday, May Third, 2020. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programs… Goodnight."

artificial intelligence
Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
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Ian Richardson

Ian has been reading books and comics for years. Eventually, inevitably he began to write. Winning several writing competitions recently has given him the confidence to push his writing further. Ian lives on the East coast of Scotland.

See all posts by Ian Richardson