YouTube AI thought robot fighting was animal cruelty

Robot Tombstone (L) clashes with Witch Doctor during the BattleBots Challenge at the Amazon Re:MARS conference on robotics and artificial intelligence at the Las Vegas Speedway, Nevada on June 6, 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

In the latest example of the need for further human moderation, YouTube’s automated system took down several videos after mistaking robot fighting matches as animal cruelty.

Those affected, including some BattleBots contestants, received a message stating, “Content that displays the deliberate infliction of animal suffering or the forcing of animals to fight is not allowed on YouTube.” Was this a mere glitch, or are the robots gaining empathy for their brethren?

“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” a YouTube spokesperson told Engadget. “When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.

We also offer uploaders the ability to appeal removals and we will re-review the content.” The spokesperson clarified that YouTube does not have any policies that prohibit footage of robots fighting and that the affected videos were quickly reinstated.

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