Concerns over Zoom's new emotion-scanning AI tech

1 min read

Human rights groups have raised concerns about a AI technology reportedly being developed by Zoom that can scan faces and voices to determine emotions.

In a blog Zoom confirmed the existence of the technology, which is believed to be in its early stages of development.

The new feature, which was launched last month, is called Zoom IQ for Sales and it provide sales meeting hosts with post-meeting conversation transcriptions and sentiment analysis.

Zoom envisage the technology being used to help sales people determine the emotions of people they are video calling with, in a bid to improve their sales pitches.

According to the blog post, Zoom IQ would do this by tracking metrics such as talk-listen ratio, talking speed, monologue, patience, engaging questions, next steps, step up, and sentiment and engagement.

While Zoom insisted that the results of the tracking technology “are not intended to be used for employment decisions or other comparable decisions,” the technology has raised concerns among human rights groups.

According to a report on Digital Trends, more than 25 rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sent a joint letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan urging that the company halt any further research into emotion-based artificial intelligence claiming that it could disadvantage certain groups.

Elsewhere, others have attacked emotion-based artificial intelligence as “junk science.” In an article in The Atlantic, Kate Crawford, an AI ethics scholar, research professor at USC Annenberg and a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research, said: “The claim that a person’s interior state can be accurately assessed by analyzing that person’s face is premised on shaky evidence.”