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Robot AL-76 Goes Astray
written by Isaac Asimov
published in 1941
A short story
Set in the Foundation universe
AL-76 (aka Al) is a robot designed for mining work on the Moon, but as a result of an accident after leaving the factory of US Robots and Mechanical Men, it gets lost and finds itself in rural Virginia. It cannot comprehend the unfamiliar environment and the people it meets are scared of it. When it comes across a shed full of spare parts and junk, it is moved to reprogram itself and builds a powerful mining tool of the kind it was designed to use on the Moon - but since it does not have the proper parts, it improvises and produces a better model, requiring less power.
When angrily told to destroy it and forget all about it, it obeys, and the secret of the reprogramming and the improved tool is lost.