Sunday January 19, 2020
Home Lead Story AI To Recogni...

AI To Recognize Individuals Emotions Using A Photographic Repository

Not for police, government

0
//
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, is pictured in Boston, April 23, 2018. Affectiva builds face-scanning technology for detecting emotions, but its founders decline business opportunities that involve spying on people.
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, is pictured in Boston, April 23, 2018. Affectiva builds face-scanning technology for detecting emotions, but its founders decline business opportunities that involve spying on people. VOA

When a CIA-backed venture capital fund took an interest in Rana el Kaliouby’s face-scanning technology for detecting emotions, the computer scientist and her colleagues did some soul-searching — and then turned down the money.

“We’re not interested in applications where you’re spying on people,” said el Kaliouby, the CEO and co-founder of the Boston startup Affectiva. The company has trained its artificial intelligence systems to recognize if individuals are happy or sad, tired or angry, using a photographic repository of more than 6 million faces.

Recent advances in AI-powered computer vision have accelerated the race for self-driving cars and powered the increasingly sophisticated photo-tagging features found on Facebook and Google. But as these prying AI “eyes” find new applications in store checkout lines, police body cameras and war zones, the tech companies developing them are struggling to balance business opportunities with difficult moral decisions that could turn off customers or their own workers.

El Kaliouby said it’s not hard to imagine using real-time face recognition to pick up on dishonesty — or, in the hands of an authoritarian regime, to monitor reaction to political speech in order to root out dissent. But the small firm, which spun off from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research lab, has set limits on what it will do.

The company has shunned “any security, airport, even lie-detection stuff,” el Kaliouby said. Instead, Affectiva has partnered with automakers trying to help tired-looking drivers stay awake, and with consumer brands that want to know whether people respond to a product with joy or disgust.

Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company's facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018.
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

New qualms

Such queasiness reflects new qualms about the capabilities and possible abuses of all-seeing, always-watching AI camera systems — even as authorities are growing more eager to use them.

In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s deadly shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, police said they turned to face recognition to identify the uncooperative suspect. They did so by tapping a state database that includes mug shots of past arrestees and, more controversially, everyone who registered for a Maryland driver’s license.

Initial information given to law enforcement authorities said that police had turned to facial recognition because the suspect had damaged his fingerprints in an apparent attempt to avoid identification. That report turned out to be incorrect and police said they used facial recognition because of delays in getting fingerprint identification.

In June, Orlando International Airport announced plans to require face-identification scans of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights by the end of this year. Several other U.S. airports have already been using such scans for some departing international flights.

Chinese firms and municipalities are already using intelligent cameras to shame jaywalkers in real time and to surveil ethnic minorities, subjecting some to detention and political indoctrination. Closer to home, the overhead cameras and sensors in Amazon’s new cashier-less store in Seattle aim to make shoplifting obsolete by tracking every item shoppers pick up and put back down.

Concerns over the technology can shake even the largest tech firms. Google, for instance, recently said it will exit a defense contract after employees protested the military application of the company’s AI technology. The work involved computer analysis of drone video footage from Iraq and other conflict zones.

Google guidelines

Similar concerns about government contracts have stirred up internal discord at Amazon and Microsoft. Google has since published AI guidelines emphasizing uses that are “socially beneficial” and that avoid “unfair bias.”

Amazon, however, has so far deflected growing pressure from employees and privacy advocates to halt Rekognition, a powerful face-recognition tool it sells to police departments and other government agencies.

Saying no to some work, of course, usually means someone else will do it. The drone-footage project involving Google, dubbed Project Maven, aimed to speed the job of looking for “patterns of life, things that are suspicious, indications of potential attacks,” said Robert Work, a former top Pentagon official who launched the project in 2017.

While it hurts to lose Google because they are “very, very good at it,” Work said, other companies will continue those efforts.

Commercial and government interest in computer vision has exploded since breakthroughs earlier in this decade using a brain-like “neural network” to recognize objects in images. Training computers to identify cats in YouTube videos was an early challenge in 2012. Now, Google has a smartphone app that can tell you which breed.

A major research meeting — the annual Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, held in Salt Lake City in June — has transformed from a sleepy academic gathering of “nerdy people” to a gold rush business expo attracting big companies and government agencies, said Michael Brown, a computer scientist at Toronto’s York University and a conference organizer.

Brown said researchers have been offered high-paying jobs on the spot. But few of the thousands of technical papers submitted to the meeting address broader public concerns about privacy, bias or other ethical dilemmas. “We’re probably not having as much discussion as we should,” he said.

Not for police, government

Startups are forging their own paths. Brian Brackeen, the CEO of Miami-based facial recognition software company Kairos, has set a blanket policy against selling the technology to law enforcement or for government surveillance, arguing in a recent essay that it “opens the door for gross misconduct by the morally corrupt.”

Boston-based startup Neurala, by contrast, is building software for Motorola that will help police-worn body cameras find a person in a crowd based on what they’re wearing and what they look like. CEO Max Versace said that “AI is a mirror of the society,” so the company chooses only principled partners.

Also read: Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice

“We are not part of that totalitarian, Orwellian scheme,” he said. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s Why Faking Emotions At Work Can Be Harmful

The researchers identified several drivers for engaging in emotion regulation and sorted them into two categories: prosocial and impression management

0
Work
A study surveyed adults who work in a wide variety of industries including education, manufacturing, engineering and financial services. Pixabay

The idea that someone can fake a positive attitude in work to elicit real-life benefits – often backfires when used with co-workers, a new study suggests.

Instead, making an effort to actually feel the emotions you display is more productive, according to the research, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

For the findings, the research team analysed two types of emotion regulation that people use at work: surface acting and deep acting.

“Surface acting is faking what you’re displaying to other people. Inside, you may be upset or frustrated, but on the outside, you’re trying your best to be pleasant or positive,” said study researcher Allison Gabriel, Associate Professor at University of Arizona in the US.

“Deep acting is trying to change how you feel inside. When you’re deep acting, you’re actually trying to align how you feel with how you interact with other people,” Gabriel added.

The study surveyed working adults in a wide variety of industries including education, manufacturing, engineering and financial services.

“What we wanted to know is whether people choose to engage in emotion regulation when interacting with their co-workers, why they choose to regulate their emotions if there is no formal rule requiring them to do so, and what benefits, if any, they get out of this effort,” Gabriel said.

work
The idea that someone can fake a positive attitude in work to elicit real-life benefits – often backfires when used with co-workers, a new study suggests. Pixabay

According to the researchers, when it comes to regulating emotions with co-workers, four types of people emerged from the study: Nonactors, or those engaging in negligible levels of surface and deep acting; Low actors, or those displaying slightly higher surface and deep acting; Deep actors, or those who exhibited the highest levels of deep acting and low levels of surface acting; and,Regulators, or those who displayed high levels of surface and deep acting.

In each study, nonactors made up the smallest group, with the other three groups being similar in size.

The researchers identified several drivers for engaging in emotion regulation and sorted them into two categories: prosocial and impression management.

Prosocial motives include wanting to be a good co-worker and cultivating positive relationships.

Impression management motives are more strategic and include gaining access to resources or looking good in front of colleagues and supervisors.

The team found that regulators, in particular, were driven by impression management motives, while deep actors were significantly more likely to be motivated by prosocial concerns.

This means that deep actors are choosing to regulate their emotions with co-workers to foster positive work relationships, as opposed to being motivated by gaining access to more resources.

The main takeaway is that deep actors – those who are really trying to be positive with their co-workers – do so for prosocial reasons and reap significant benefits from these efforts, said the study.

Men, Employees, Suit, Work, Greeting, Business, Office
For the findings, the research team analysed two types of emotion regulation that people use at work: surface acting and deep acting. Pixabay

Deep actors also reported significantly higher levels of progress on their work goals and trust in their co-workers than the other three groups.

ALSO READ: 5G Smartphones Priced Around $150 To Be Unveiled By End of This Year: Huawei President

The data also showed that mixing high levels of surface and deep acting resulted in physical and mental strain. (IANS)