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Researchers create online game to spread emotion recognition awareness

Demonstrates the technology’s power and flaws
Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News

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Scientists from Cambridge University and UCL have created an online video game to show the public the risks associated with biometrics-based emotion recognition programs, The Irish News reports.

Called Emojify, the new website allows individuals to use their laptop or mobile camera to scan facial expressions and detect emotions accordingly.

Emojify can detect six emotions — happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, disgust, and anger — and allows participants to assist research by answering optional questions.

These include queries related to their personal experience with emotion recognition systems and their opinions about the technology’s efficacy and concerns.

“Many people are surprised to learn that emotion recognition technology exists and is already in use,” commented Dr. Alexa Hagerty, project lead and researcher at Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.

“Our project gives people a chance to experience these systems for themselves and get a better idea of how powerful they are, but also how flawed,” she added.

Hagerty also explained how the technology potentially presents risks related to discrimination and surveillance.

“The science behind emotion recognition is shaky,” she explained. “It assumes that our facial expressions perfectly mirror our inner feelings. If you’ve ever faked a smile, you know that it isn’t always the case.”

To reassure the public about the exclusively academic purposes of the project, the researchers clarified Emojify does not collect or save biometrics or other user data.

The information gathered from public responses will be utilized as part of an upcoming academic paper about the societal implications of emotion recognition.

The shaky scientific basis of emotion recognition systems has received increasing attention this year.

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