The Sentinel-Observer learned today that Randy Samuels and others who worked on the "killer robot" project at Silicon Techtronics Inc. were under tremendous pressure to finish the robot software by January 1 of this year. According to an informed source, top level management warned killer robot project staff that "heads would roll" if the January 1 deadline was not met. Randy Samuels, a Silicon Techtronics programmer, was indicted last week on charges of manslaughter in the now famous killer robot case. Samuels wrote the flawed software that caused a Silicon Techtronics Robbie CX30 industrial robot to crush and fatally injure its operator, Bart Matthews. Matthews was a robot operator at Cybernetics Inc. According to Silicon Valley Prosecuting Attorney Jane McMurdock, Samuels misinterpreted a mathematical formula, "turning harmless Robbie into a savage killer." "They hated each other's guts," Martha said. "By June of last year the robot project had fallen six months behind schedule, and Johnson went through the roof. There were rumors that the entire robotics division, which he headed, would be terminated if Robbie (the CX30 robot) didn't prove a commercial success. He called Sam (Reynolds) into his office, and he really chewed Sam out. I mean, you could hear the yelling all the way down the hall. Johnson told Sam to finish Robbie by the first of January or heads would roll." "I'm not saying that Johnson was ordering Sam to cut corners," Martha added. "I think the idea of cutting corners was implicit. The message was, cut corners if you want to keep your job." According to documents provided by Martha, twenty new programmers were added to the Robbie CX30 project on June 12 of last year. This was just several days after the stormy meeting between Johnson and Reynolds. Martha reported the new hires were a disaster: "Johnson unilaterally arranged for these new hires, presumably by shifting resources from other aspects of the Robbie project. Reynolds was vehemently opposed to this. Johnson only knew about manufacturing hardware. That was his background. He couldn't understand the difficulties that we were having with the robotics software. You can't speed up a software project by adding more people. It's not like an assembly line."
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