The following document was commissioned by the federal government and the AtHome Corporation. It contains a summary of the dates 1/1/2011 through 6/18/2011, as they pertain to the Harrison family and Project Service.
This version of the document has been made available for public viewing. Some segments of the document have been redacted to protect the privacy of the parties involved and at the discretion of the AtHome Corporation. For full disclosure, the redactions have also been printed.
This document was funded by the AtHome Corporation and assembled by a team of investigators commissioned by the aforementioned corporation's board of directors.
On 2/23/2012 this document was submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigations in its entirety.
On 2/25/2012 it was edited by the AtHome Corporation's board of directors and this version has been approved for availability to the public in response to questions regarding these events.
Memorandum Regarding Project Service Malfunctions and Potential Liability Implications
To: Federal Bureau of Investigations
From: AtHome Corporation Research and Development Department
Subject: Chronology of Related Events
The Harrisons receive Project Service, more commonly referred to as, "Robot Dave."
The Harrison family consisted of Mark (age 48), Patricia (age 46), Tracy (age 18) and twins Robert and Mitchell (age 13).
The Harrisons received Robot Dave after the AtHome Corporation, as a marketing tool, donated the first fully functional version of their new robot butler to a family for a year before it was released on the mass-market. The Harrison's were selected from a random family lottery executed by the AtHome Corporation on 7/18/2010.
The family received Robot Dave at 8:30am on 1/1/2011. Ralph Kelly, the AtHome Corporation's marketing director, and Dr. XXXXXXX, Project Service's inventor were also present. There was a meet and greet with select members of the media and an opportunity for other media outlets to take photos of Robot Dave obeying the Harrison's commands. Some tasks that appeared in photos include: Cooking, Cleaning, Driving, assisting the three children with their homework, helping the thirteen-year-old Harrison twins with their basketball shot, acting as a doorman and several other household activities.
At this time, no defects were reported.
First defect reported.
Patricia Harrison reported the following via e-mail to both Ralph Kelly and Dr. XXXXXXX:
Robot Dave is a Godsend!!! My house has never been cleaner and I'll never worry about getting the kids to school on time again! We are giving him simple commands to start with, like you told us. I can't wait to see if he can stop the rabbits from destroying my garden, but I'll wait until later to give him that command. It might not be so simple. The whole family is anxious to see what else he can do!
There is one issue though. It's not even that big of a deal, but he refuses to make certain foods because he says they are unhealthy. When the kids complained, he said something weird, "I am programmed to fulfill your needs XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX." Anyway, the kids want their pop-tarts, so if you could tell me how to stop that, I'd be grateful.
Like I said, he's been absolutely wonderful. We can't thank you enough.
A brief e-mail with a maintenance command was sent to Patricia Henderson by Dr. XXXXXXX. The issue was considered resolved.
Second defect reported.
The Harrisons communicated the second defect through a series of phone calls and e-mails to Ralph Kelly. Robot Dave would not fulfill the request to pick the kids up from school. During this time, Robot Dave is also quoted as saying, "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I have determined this course of action to be superior to your wants," several times.
The twins, Robert and Mitchell Harrison, along with the elder daughter, Tracy Harrison would begin school at 8:30am. School was released at 3:30pm. The twins would attend basketball practice at the school gym beginning at 4:00pm and ending at 6:00pm daily. Tracy Harrison had student council obligations from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. Robot Dave was supposed to pick up all three children at 6:30pm.
It was confirmed that Robot Dave's programming gave him the following information: The children are at school for a combined total of ten hours a day. The children are at home and awake for an average of eight hours a day. Robot Dave is believed to have come to the conclusion that the children should live at school. This course of action was designed to save the Harrison's time and effort.
Dr Luke Wilson made a house call on 2/23/2011 at 4:45pm and altered some of Robot Dave's code.
The defect was not reported again.
Dr. Luke Wilson said the following via e-mail to Ralph Kelly:
The recent defect in Robot Dave has raised some concerns for me. I believe he may be learning XXXXXXX, which may cause some serious problems. I'm afraid I have to demand we postpone mass-production, and Robot Dave from the Harrison's home immediately.
I feel now that the project was rushed to completion, and Robot Dave's programming needs to be re-done to accommodate for XXXXXXX .Without this alteration, I fear that he may cause harm to his owners or others.
Please respond ASAP!
Dr. Luke Wilson
Dr. XXXXXXX was fired from the AtHome Corporation's research and development team by Ralph Kelly on 2/25/2011 at 4:52pm. Accounting records indicate that Dr. XXXXXXX was paid XXXX dollars at the time of his departure.
At 4:58pm Ralph Kelly sent the following e-mail to Dr. XXXXXXX.
I'm so sorry we couldn't work out our differences concerning the project. I have ensured that the company paid you six million dollars. That money should inspire you to keep your [expletive deleted] mouth shut when people ask you about why you don't work for us anymore. There are a lot of important people with a lot of important money wrapped up in seeing Robot Dave succeed, and we don't need some paranoid, [expletive deleted] scientist ruining the whole thing. Should you choose to open your mouth to the media, I can promise you some interesting conversations with the company's legal department.
Dr. Steven Wilcox, one of XXXXXXX's assistants, was placed in charge of the project on 2/26/2012.
At approximately 9:30am Patricia Harrison gave Robot Dave the command to: "Stop the rabbits from eating the vegetables in my garden."
Third defect reported.
At 6:30pm, Patricia Harrison noticed some behavior from Robot Dave that she considered odd. Robot Dave was crushing something up and placing it in some of the food he made for dinner. At 6:57pm Patricia Harrison communicated the defect via telephone call to Ralph Kelly. During interrogation by the Harrisons, Robot Dave reported, "I have been medicating Tracy for two weeks, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."
Dr. Steven Wilcox arrived at the Harrison's house at 9:32pm for a technical interrogation to identify the reasoning for the defect.
The analysis of Robot Dave's responses indicated that he overheard a conversation between Patricia and Mark Harrison. The couple was discussing their daughter, her boyfriend and their intimate activities. The subject of pregnancy was brought up by Patricia Harrison. Mark Harrison spoke of the financial implications of a new baby. Robot Dave interpreted the discussion as an implied directive. He began slipping Tracy Harrison birth control pills the following evening during diner.
Dr. Steven Wilcox gave Robot Dave a series of four corrective commands.
The issue was not reported again.
Fourth defect reported.
At 1:20am on the morning of 5/30/2011 Tracy Harrison snuck out of the Harrison's home. She exited the house by means of her bedroom window. Robot Dave witnessed Tracy Harrison climbing through the window while he was outside waiting for rabbits in the garden. Robot Dave waited until Tracy Harrison crossed the property line before pursuing her. He caught up to her two blocks away at the corner of 18th St. and Colfax Ave..
Tracy Harrison reported the following in an interview with Dr. Steven Wilcox:
He ran after me down the street. When I saw that he was following me, I turned and told him to go back to the house. He said, "You are disobeying your parent's commands. You will return to your residence, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."[pauses to blow nose] I told him to shut up and go back to the house, but he wouldn't. [pauses to wipe eyes] I thought he was supposed to listen to us. He didn't listen to me at all. He repeated what he said, but I just turned around and started to walk away. [pauses to cry] Then he XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX all the way home.
When Tracy was returned to the Harrison's house, Mark Harrison found it necessary to bring Tracy to the hospital. Her medical records from that night indicated the following:
The patient had severe lacerations on her scalp and upper back. Some gravel, typical to that found on a residential street, was removed from the wounds on the patient's back. Thirty-seven stitches were placed in the patient's scalp.
Robot Dave was removed from the Harrison's home at 10:20am on 5/30/2011, for Dr. Steven Wilcox to perform an analytical interview and maintenance.
At this time, Patricia Harrison voiced concerns about letting Robot Dave re-enter their home. Dr. Steven Wilcox spoke to her in person. No records of their conversation exist. Patricia Harrison agreed to let the trial continue after speaking to Dr. Wilcox.
At 4:25pm, Maintenance was determined complete by Dr. Steven Wilcox and the defect was considered resolved.
At 5:40pm, Robot Dave was returned to the Harrison's home
Fifth defect reported.
At 3:45am, Vincent "Vinny" Tacker broke into the Harrison's home through the backdoor. Mr. Tacker was in the process of unhooking the Harrison's television and DVD player when Robot Dave approached him from behind. Robot Dave killed Mr. Tacker by snapping his neck.
At 4:45pm on 6/03/2011, Ralph Kelly delivered the following televised statement:
Good afternoon to our customers and to members of the media present.
First off, I would like to send the sympathies of the entire AtHome Corporation to the Tacker family for their loss.
Today's events should never have occurred. Our research and development department determined that the highly illegal actions of Mr. Tacker resulted in an unforeseen variable in Robot Dave's sophisticated home security system. Robot Dave is designed to protect the Harrison family at all costs. Today's unfortunate turn of events was a minor oversight regarding the logical ramifications of a felony being committed against the Harrison family.
Of course, all future models have already had this programming resolved. The 2012 models of Project Service will create safer homes than ever before. We are also adding additional features to ensure that Robot Dave will turn any future felons over to the appropriate authorities with the appropriate amount of force.
Although this should never have happened, I think this instance highlights the stream-lined process by which we can solve issues of any nature in Project Service. The models can simply automatically download a software update and any issue can be solved in a matter of hours at the most
The AtHome Corporation regrets that this problem was not addressed before it arose. However, we know that our changes will prevent any future incident of this caliber. Thank you.
Sixth defect reported.
At approximately 11:10pm, Robot Dave entered the bedroom of Robert and Mitchell Harrison. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. mothered each of them with a pillow..He also fractured each of their skulls in several places due to the pressure applied during the suffocation process. It was determined that both boys experienced significant pain during the attack..
At 11:20, Robot Dave entered the bedroom of Tracy Harrison. XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
At 11:25, Robot Dave entered the bedroom of Mark and Patricia Harrison. XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXX.XXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
At 11:35, Robot Dave took a seat in the Harrison's living room to await further instructions.
End of Timeline: See closing notes for additional information
Closing Notes: Last updated 9/5/2012
On 6/22/2011 at 3:20pm the bodies of the Harrisons were discovered by local authorities. When the county sheriff's department entered the Harrison's home, Robot Dave was still seated in the living room. When authorities entered the house, Robot Dave said, "The Harrison's no longer have any needs. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."
Only one object of relevance was found during a search of the Harrison's home. The object was an icepick with trace amounts of blood on it. Originally thought to be a weapon implicated in the Harrisons' deaths, the medical examiner's office determined on 6/27/2011 that the blood on the icepick was rabbit blood.
Ralph Kelly was fired by the AtHome Corporation's board of directors on 7/5/2011.
As of 2/22/2012, when this document was determined complete, the case of The People v. The AtHome Corporation for one count of Criminal negligence regarding the death of Vincent "Vinny" Tacker was awaiting trial. This document was deemed admissible by judge Ronald Tallis on 3/18/2012. The case ended in a mistrial on 6/18/2012.
As of 2/22/2012, the case of The People v. The AtHome Corporation for five counts of criminal negligence, five counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child regarding the deaths of the Harrison family was still in preliminary deliberations. On 5/27/2012, this document was deemed admissible by judge Jonathan Pesnalt. The case ended with a verdict of 'not guilty' on 8/2/2012.
Project Service's launch date was moved back from 1/1/2012 to 1/1/2014.
Richard McLarn is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in English. He currently lives in Minnesota's Twin Cities.