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Scientists Develop #MeTooBots to Detect Sexual Harassment

January 17th, 2020
sexual harassment

Artificial intelligence (AI) bots are being developed and deployed against sexual harassers in the workplace. Nicknamed #MeTooBots, the sexual harassment detecting software uses algorithms to sift through emails and other communications, flagging potential offenses for further review by Human Resources departments or company lawyers. Individual messages, as well as communication patterns over extended periods, are reviewed as part of the process as the AI bot sorts through and interprets the materials.

A major concern is that AI does not yet have the capability to interpret subtle clues into interpersonal communications the way that a human observer might. This leaves the bot open to missing episodes of harassment or misinterpreting innocent exchanges as something more concerning.

Some are Skeptical

Many skeptics do not expect that the bots are ready to provide the support that they believe calls for more human involvement. Others fear that companies will use the bots as proof of their efforts, relaxing attempts to thwart sexual harassment on other fronts.

Some women’s groups have expressed skepticism if these technologies are capable of successfully monitoring for harassment, voicing suspicions that company goals may involve employee surveillance. They say the potential for privacy abuse is troubling. At the same time, AI monitoring of electronic communications may not be enough to prevent harassers from exhibiting such offensive behaviors.

AI Reporting Tool

One additional AI approach to the problem involves a chatbot called Spot, which has been developed to give employees a place to anonymously report incidents of sexual harassment. The bot is programed to interact with the user, asking questions to obtain relevant information and gives advice on how to handle the situation. The bot hands off the accusations to the Human Resources team for further action, preserving the accuser’s anonymity throughout the process.

An interesting use for the #MeTooBots is to scour an accused harasser’s communications for proof of a pattern of behavior that could support the company’s case against them. This application, while not preventative, serves the purpose of backing up the accusations and the case for removal of a harasser.

Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Sexual Harassment Victims

If you encountered sexual harassment at your place of employment, contact the Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. We can help you address the issues that are inhibiting a fair and safe workplace. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 to set up a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.

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