Facial recognition: Microsoft gives up scanning your face to know your emotions

News hardware Facial recognition: Microsoft gives up scanning your face to know your emotions

Microsoft backtracks and wants to redeem a conscience. After several years of research and development, the Redmond company announces the gradual end of its facial recognition artificial intelligence, in accordance with new ethical guidelines, and on the strength of the observation that the technology is unreliable. Until then, this AI was trained to scan human faces, to identify their age, gender, ethnicity and emotions.

Microsoft says goodbye to facial recognition

Perhaps Microsoft was afraid that its AI would acquire a conscience? In all cases, the company has just announced that it will end its experimentation with facial recognition.

Since 2015, the group has been developing the Microsoft Face Programming Frameworkan artificial intelligence capable of analyzing the facial expressions of human beings, to guess their social characteristics and feelings.

Made available to developers via the Azure service, this AI is now a matter of conscience for Microsoftwhich also recognizes that the technology is, in any case, still not perfect, despite several years of work.

Problematic AI and new ethical principles

In particular: transparency and privacy issues – is it safe for our machines to store a scan of our face? – and several discriminating biases within AI. Natasha Cramptona Microsoft spokesperson on this subject, explains that the AI ​​classifies faces into two categories, male or female, without taking into account the different sliders on the gender spectrum.

She adds that this artificial intelligence is unable to detect subtleties in the expression of emotions depending on where one lives. ” There are huge cultural, geographic and individual variations in the way we express ourselves – variations to which the program remains hermetic, she specifies.

This announcement also finds an echo in the adoption by Microsoft new ethical standards and principlescalling for a responsible attitude towards investments in artificial intelligence technologies. Confidentiality and transparency now seem to be the watchwords of the firm’s development strategy, and facial recognition therefore seemed incompatible with these commitments.

Gradual deactivation… But not everywhere

Microsoft wastes no time: the facial recognition system has already been withdrawn from circulation. It can therefore no longer be used by new developers, nor be integrated into new applications.

As for customers who were already using this technology, Microsoft gives them until June 30, 2023 to find a fallback solution, before permanently disabling the Face Programming Framework.

Nevertheless, the company reserves the right to continue integrating its technology into Seeing AI, software designed to support visually impaired people on a daily basis. It also remains to be seen what the company intends to do with the huge database it has today, after having had its AI scan countless faces for many years.

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Facial recognition: Microsoft gives up scanning your face to know your emotions


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