03:48 GMT +322 August 2019
Listen Live
    Amazon logo

    Amazon's Facial Recognition Able to Detect Fear as Updates to Controversial Tool Revealed

    © AFP 2019 / EMMANUEL DUNAND
    Tech
    Get short URL
    Svetlana Ekimenko
    104

    Earlier in August Amazon Web Services said that its Rekognition tool can now detect violent content such as blood, wounds, weapons, self-injury, corpses, as well as sexually explicit content, while fending off concerns regarding its potential use in surveillance and privacy violation.

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added several new features to its facial-recognition software, Rekognition, including expanded age and gender recognition capabilities, and the new ability to recognise fear, the tech giant announced in a blog post on 12 August.

    “With this release, we have further improved the accuracy of gender identification. In addition, we have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: “Happy”, “Sad”, “Angry”, “Surprised”, “Disgusted”, “Calm” and “Confused”) and added a new emotion: “Fear,”” said AWS.

    Earlier this month AWS also announced that its upgraded Rekognition software was now capable of identifying violent content such as blood, wounds, weapons, self-injury, as well as sexually explicit content.

    Rekognition is one of many Amazon Web Services cloud services available that is used for facial and sentiment analysis, identifying expressions and predicting emotions from images of people’s faces, as its AI “learns” from the data it processes.

    As Artificial intelligence researchers have invested heavily in software development that could read a person’s emotions by analysing facial features, movements and voice, some experts claim that while there is scientific evidence suggesting a correlation between facial expressions and emotions, people communicate emotions differently across the spectrum of cultures and situations.

    In a study published 17 July “Emotional Expressions Reconsidered: Challenges to Inferring Emotion From Human Facial Movements,” researchers say that sometimes:

    “it is not possible to confidently infer happiness from a smile, anger from a scowl, or sadness from a frown, as much of current technology tries to do when applying what are mistakenly believed to be scientific facts.”

    The increased availability of facial recognition technology, been raising privacy concerns and and worries surrounding the technology's potential use in surveillance.

    An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer guards a group of 116 Salvadorean immigrants that wait to be deported,at Willacy Detention facility in Raymondville, Texas on December 18, 2008
    © AFP 2019 / Jose CABEZAS
    An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer guards a group of 116 Salvadorean immigrants that wait to be deported,at Willacy Detention facility in Raymondville, Texas on December 18, 2008

    Rekognition has also been controversial due to its use by law enforcement agencies.

    In July, Business Insider reported a group of Amazon employees had sent out an internal email urging Amazon to stop working with the big data company Palantir, which works with the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement, demanding Amazon take a stand against ICE by making a statement establishing its position against immigration raids, deportations, and camps for migrants at the border.

    A year ago, Amazon was similarly pressured by employees over sales of facial recognition services to law enforcement.

    AWS has insisted its technology is used by organisations that work with law enforcement to advocate for victims of crime.

    Related:

    UK Home Office Backs Police Trials of Controversial, Human Rights Violating Facial Recognition Tech
    Facial Recognition: Why Facebook's 'Alt Text' Feature Can be Abused by Spooks & Hackers
    Facial Recognition Tech Used by FBI, ICE Highlights Need for Citizen Consent, Regulation
    Amazon's New Service Terms to Apply to German, Other EU, 'America and Asia' Sites - Report
    Sex, Spies, and Audio Tape: Amazon's Alexa Caught Snooping on Copulating Couples – Report
    Amazon to Provide ‘Opt Out’ Settings for Alexa After Outrage as Staff Listened to Users Having Sex
    Tags:
    Facial Recognition, facial recognition, Amazon, Amazon
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik