Microsoft Corp said Tuesday that it would stop selling technology that analyzes people’s emotions. based on a facial image and it would no longer provide unlimited access to its facial recognition tools.
During years, activists and academics have raised concerns that facial analysis software that claims to be able to identify a person’s age, gender and emotional state may be biased, unreliable, or invasive, and should not be sold.
The decision reflects Microsoft’s efforts to more tightly control its artificial intelligence products, at a time when lawmakers in the United States and Europe find themselves weighing legal limitations.
after one two-year review, a team at Microsoft developed a “Responsible Artificial Intelligence Standard,” consisting of a 27-page document that establishes the requirements so that artificial intelligence does not have a harmful impact on society.
Requirements include ensure systems provide “valid solutions to the problems they are designed to solve” and one similar quality of service for identified demographic groups, including marginalized groups”, according to The New York Times.
“These efforts raised important questions about the privacy, lack of consensus on the definition of ’emotions’ and the inability to generalize the relationship between facial expression and emotional state across all use cases, regions, and demographics,” Sarah Bird, product manager at Microsoft’s Azure AI unit, said in a blog post.
Customers will have one year before losing access to the artificial intelligence tools that claim to infer emotions, gender, age, smile, facial hair, hair, and makeup.
Alphabet’s Google Cloud embarked on a similar assessment last year. As a consequence, Google blocked 13 expected reactions in its emotion reading tool and put four existing ones, such as joy and sadness, under review. The company is evaluating a new system that analyzes movements such as frowning and smiling, without trying to associate them with an emotion.
Microsoft also said that customers must now get approval to use its facial recognition services, that can allow people to log in to websites or open folders using a facial scan.
The company asked its customers to avoid situations that violate privacy or in which technology can cause problemssuch as the identification of minors, but did not explicitly prohibit such uses.
Last week, Microsoft announced that it would be decommissioning Internet Explorer, its web browser, and it finally did, after 27 years on the screens of computers around the world.
microsoft announced the departure last year, explaining in a blog post on Wednesday that it was due to the need to start from scratch with a different browser: microsoft Edge.
“Internet Explorer (IE) has been officially retired, it is unsupported as of today”wrote microsoft.
(With information from Reuters)