Microsoft have created a technology that is able to read politician’s and human’s expressions. It can be used to analyse an individual’s or a group’s response to a situation. This technology could be extremely useful at political rallies where politicians need to know exactly which parts of their speeches are causing the most positive reactions. It could also be useful for reducing parts of speeches that cause negative effects on the rally group. The technology is not limited to happy and sad responses but can also read other emotions such as surprise and anger.
Microsoft claimed at the end of last year that the technology could be used to detect; “anger, contempt, fear, disgust, happiness, neutral, sadness, and surprise.” The technology might be geared towards political rallies but it could also be used in a variety of different industries as a form of market research.
Interestingly, at a convention in Cleveland, a few people were wary of the device. They were asking why Microsoft would want to record their expressions. The machine picked up response of fear, disgust, and contempt suggesting that the technology certainly wasn’t appreciated or even enjoyed by all. The technology, in theory, could be used by tyrants or political dictators to read people’s responses at speeches to identify if anyone was against the regime. However, Microsoft is unlikely to market their technology in such places namely North Korea.
Facial Recognition is already a commonly used technology all over the world in numerous different environments. Britain’s CCTV culture profits hugely by being able to quickly turn faces into names and address to help with the capture of possible criminals. The technology has had its controversies most notable is the attempted ban of facial technology application on the Google glass system. However, could facial expression technology be used with Google glass to help people who might struggle at social occasions? Or could it be used by people with illnesses or syndromes that find it extremely difficult to understand other people’s emotions.
There are lots of other ways that facial expression technology could be used for good. Teachers could use it for classrooms to identify anyone who might be struggling or upset. The technology could also be used on children who might be being mistreated to identify if they have fear when they see their abuser. The gaming industry could also make a use of this technology through a new innovative game maybe in the real time augmented reality environment.
There are huge moral questions that need to be answered. Should companies require consent to store facial expressions and face templates? If so how would they be able to gain this from crowds of multiple thousands? The technology is another huge leap forward in facial recognition and expression technology however there a lots of unanswered questions. Let’s just hope that robots won’t be taking advantage of this technology to help with their enslavement of the human race.