Incident 64: Customer Service Robot Scares Away Customers

Description: Heriot-Watt Univeristy in Scotland developed an artificially intelligent grocery store robot, Fabio, who provided unhelpful answers to customer's questions and "scared away" multiple customers, according to the grocery store Margiotta.
Alleged: Heriot-Watt University developed an AI system deployed by Heriot-Watt University and Margiotta, which harmed Store Patrons.

Suggested citation format

Yampolskiy, Roman. (2018-01-22) Incident Number 64. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
64
Report Count
1
Incident Date
2018-01-22
Editors
Sean McGregor

Tools

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CSET Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

Heriot-Watt University in Scotland developed an artificially intelligent grocery store robot, Fabio, who provided unhelpful answers to customer's questions and "scared away" multiple customers, according to the grocery store Margiotta. When asked "Where is the beer?" Fabio replied, "in the alcohol section." When Fabio was tasked with handing out samples of sausages, only 2 customers per 15 minutes would engage the robot, while a human would engage an average of 12 customers per 15 minutes.

Short Description

Heriot-Watt Univeristy in Scotland developed an artificially intelligent grocery store robot, Fabio, who provided unhelpful answers to customer's questions and "scared away" multiple customers, according to the grocery store Margiotta.

Severity

Negligible

AI System Description

Fabio, an artificially intelligent grocery store assistant intended to assist customers throughout their shopping experience

System Developer

Heriot-Watt University

Sector of Deployment

Wholesale and retail trade

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Cognition, Action

AI Techniques

language recognition, natural language processing

AI Applications

language processing, virtual assistant

Location

Scotland

Named Entities

Heriot-Watt University, Margiotta

Technology Purveyor

Heriot-Watt University

Near Miss

Unclear/unknown

Intent

Unclear

Lives Lost

No

Data Inputs

Customer requests

Incident Reports

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Variants

A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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