Emerging Tech

Amazon’s facial recognition updates can detect fear, among other emotions

Amazon’s facial recognition software can detect emotion on people’s faces, including fear. 

Rekignition, which is one of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services, is used for facial analysis for developers. The service can identify different expressions and emotions by using advanced artificial intelligence.  

Amazon announced on Monday improvements to the service that includes better accuracy for gender identification and emotion detection. Amazon said, “we have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all seven emotions: Happy, sad, angry, surprised, disgusted, calm, and confused) and added a new emotion: Fear.”

Amazon says the service “can identify the objects, people, text, scenes, and activities, as well as detect any inappropriate content.” 

Aside from distinguishing between emotions, Rekignition can estimate age ranges across multiple age groups. 

Developers can purchase Rekignition from AWS. In the past, Amazon has sold the service to Orlando, Florida, police. The police department said it is using the service in accordance with the law, and Amazon said that new technology should not be outlawed just because “some people could choose to abuse the technology.” 

Facial recognition technology is widely considered controversial. Politicians from both sides — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) — agree that facial recognition use poses a threat to civil liberties. 

Some groups have even called for a total ban of facial recognition. In July, the digital rights group, Fight for the Future, called for a complete ban for facial recognition surveillance software, specifically for government use. 

“The industry would like to avoid this debate entirely by focusing on regulation and cautious implementation — we need to be discussing whether technology this dangerous has any role in a free and open society,” Evan Greer, the deputy director of Fight, told Digital Trends. 

Facial recognition software is nothing new, and it’s not new that companies are taking advantage of the technology. Facebook uses facial recognition for its tagging feature, Apple uses it to unlock its smartphones for Face ID, and Microsoft uses the technology as well. 

It’s important technology, that’s for sure, but it’s also groundbreaking in a kind of creepy way that A.I. can now widely recognize emotions.

Digital Trends reached out to Amazon to comment on its facial recognition service and how the company plans to improve the technology further, but we haven’t received a response. 

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