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Cambridge University asks public to pull faces at their phones to expose ‘flawed’ emotion recognition technology

The public has been asked to pull faces at their smartphones by Cambridge University in a bid to expose “flawed” emotion recognition technology.

A new website called Emojify has been designed by Cambridge and University College London researchers to help people to understand how computers can detect emotions by scanning faces.

Users can pull faces at the camera on their phone or laptop as part of a game which tries to make the technology recognise six emotions – anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise.

Visitors to the website are also asked about their views on whether the technology is something they have previously used, and if they believe it is helpful or worrying.

Similar equipment is already used across a number of areas of Chinese society to monitor the behaviour of schoolchildren and track the facial movements of suspects in police interviews.

Project lead Dr Alexa Hagerty, who has  described the technology as “powerful” but “flawed”, hopes the site will stimulate conversations around whether automatic facial recognition is a good thing, and how – if at all – it should be deployed.


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