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AI Company Defends Robot Amid Groping Allegations

QSS, the AI company responsible for the Saudi humanoid robot accused of groping a female reporter, has defended the robot’s actions, claiming there were “no deviations from expected behavior.” The incident occurred during the DeepFest conference in Riyadh, where attendees were reportedly warned not to stand too close to the robot, known as “Android Muhammad.”

In a video capturing the incident, the robot is seen standing beside a female-attired robot and two reporters, one male and one female. The Muhammad robot appears to reach towards the female journalist, briefly lifting the back of her blazer. The reporter, Rawya Kassem, reacts in surprise, gesturing for the robot to stop.

QSS suggested that the robot may have been attempting to encourage Kassem to step forward on the stage, potentially preventing her from falling off a short pedestal. The company emphasized that it had informed all attendees, including reporters, to maintain a safe distance from the robot during its demonstration.

Despite concerns raised by the incident, QSS conducted an internal review of the footage and circumstances, concluding that there were no unexpected behaviors. However, the company stated it would implement additional measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The response from QSS parallels common defenses seen in allegations of sexual misconduct, where internal investigations often find no wrongdoing and blame is shifted onto the victims. This incident highlighted the complexities surrounding human-robot interactions and underscored the need for clear guidelines and safeguards in such interactions.

Filed in Robots. Read more about .

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