‘MeTooBots’ in Service: AI-Powered Bots to Detect Digital Harassment

‘MeTooBots’ in Service: AI-Powered Bots to Detect Digital Harassment
The Siliconreview
06 January, 2020

In order to identify digital bullying and sexual harassment, artificial intelligence programmers are developing bots, The Guardian reported on Friday. Termed as ‘MeTooBots’, the bot can monitor and flag communications between colleagues.

‘MeTooBots’ are being introduced by companies across the world as it’s an ideal way of keeping the communication between the colleagues in check.The bots were named after the high profile movement (#MeToo) that arose after allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

According to the report, the bot-makers said it’s not easy to teach computers how to detect harassment, with its linguistic subtleties and grey lines.

“I wasn’t aware of all the forms of harassment. I thought it was just talking dirty. It comes in so many different ways. It might be 15 messages … it could be racy photos,” Jay Leib said. He’s the chief executive officer of a Chicago-based AI firm NexLP.

It’s learnt that NexLP’s AI platform is being used by over 50 corporate clients, including law firms in London. The law industry is potentially fertile ground for the bots to examine as it’s reported that a third of female lawyers in Britain experience sexual harassment.

Mr. Leib said that the bots could benefit other industries too: “There’s a lot of interest from clients across sectors such as financial services, pharmaceuticals,” he said.

A lecturer at Harvard and MIT, Prof Brian Subirana, hailed the idea of using AI to weed out harassment, although he also stated that the bots’ capabilities were limited.

“There’s a type of harassment that is very subtle and very hard to pick up. We have these training courses [about harassment] at Harvard, and it requires the type of understanding that AI is not yet capable of,” he said.