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In June, we wrote a story based on information from the Daily Mail (which was based on reporting by the Daily Mirror) about engineer Dr. Sergi Santos and his artificially intelligent, sensor-packed sex robot Samantha. Since last year, the bot has made headlines for its (relatively) lifelike appearance, and Santos’ desire to create a robot that can respond to touch and conversation. In the post, we described how at a June 14th event at the Life Science Centre in the UK, Dr. Santos introduced a new feature to Samantha that would cause the robot to enter an unresponsive “dummy mode” if treated aggressively or disrespectfully.
After publication, Dr. Santos contacted us to say that our story was inaccurate; that there was no such thing as dummy mode, and that no such functionality had been demonstrated at the Life Science Centre.
Upon further review, we no longer stand by the story as key parts of it cannot be independently verified. We contacted two other panelists from the June 14th event and one of the event’s organizers. No one remembered the introduction of a new feature called dummy mode. When asked about his article, the reporter for the Daily Mirror stood by his work.
We should have done more to confirm the details before publication. It was dumb, and we will do better.