Microsoft to retire controversial facial recognition tool that claims to identify emotion - The Verge
Microsoft is retiring a number of facial analysis tools used to identify emotion, gender, and age. It’s part of an overhaul of the company’s AI ethics standards, which will introduce tighter limits on who has access to its services.
Microsoft is phasing out public access to a number of AI-powered facial analysis tools — including one that claims to identify a subject’s emotion from videos and pictures.
Such “emotion recognition” tools have been criticized by experts. They say not only do facial expressions that are thought to be universal differ across different populations but that it is unscientific to equate external displays of emotion with internal feelings.
“Companies can say whatever they want, but the data are clear,” Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University who conducted a review into the subject of AI-powered emotion recognition, told The Verge in 2019. “They can detect a scowl, but that’s not the same thing as detecting anger.”
The decision is part of a larger overhaul of Microsoft’s AI ethics policies. The company’s updated Responsible AI Standards (first outlined in 2019) emphasize accountability to find out who uses its services and greater human oversight into where these tools are applied.
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