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Video has emerged of a Russian-made robot apparently saving a child from harm by stopping a shelving unit stacked with boxes from falling on the young, unaccompanied child who started to climb on it.
The footage comes from central Russia’s Perm Polytechnic University during an open day in which visitors are allowed to mill about the university’s buildings. The self-teaching robot, Promobot, is seen in the lobby of a university building and seems to react to protect the child by moving toward the shelving unit and then raising its right arm to keep the unit from falling on top of the child.
However, some are calling the video fake news.
According to The Daily Mail, there have been strange incidents in the past involving the Promobot that suggest all is not on the up-and-up as its makers attempt to demonstrate the brilliance of their creation. While these incidents have not been disproved, tech websites Atlas Obscura and BGR have both been suspicious of the Promobot, while others have simply given it no credence.
The websites find it odd that the news involving the Promobot always seems to come from its creators and not outside sources, and that the footage always seems to be “too good to be true.”
In this video, for instance, why is the young girl unaccompanied? Why does she head directly to the shelving unit and start to climb on it?
A safety rope had already been removed allowing the girl to gain access to the dangerous shelving unit, raising more eyebrows. And then there’s this question: Why is the shelving unit placed in such an odd spot in the building and apparently not part of any storage facility?
And, watch how the boxes fall. Are they all empty? It appears so. And, if they were full, why did no one seen in the frame even turn toward the shelving unit when the boxes hit the ground? Even the little girl hardly seems fazed by the incident. She simply wanders away.
Oleg Kivokurtsev, the manager of robotics company Promobot, said the robot acted on its own: “The little girl was playing around and pulled the metal shelves, the robot prevented her from getting hurt. The robot is not programmed that way.”