Have you ever switched off your computer camera when joining a video conf because you did not feel at ease with people watching your room or the way you have dressed up? Well, now you might have a further reason to keep your computer camera off: artificial intelligence based software can detect your emotions as you listen and let the other participants know your feelings.
Zoom, one of the most widely used platform for conference calls, is working on ways to detect the mood of participants in a call, using artificial intelligence applied to face recognition. It is not a “first” in the area of emotion detection. There are several applications that do just that, but it is probably the first conf call platform planning to insert this feature to monitor participants emotions. This is already rising concern as a further step of intrusion in our personal life. It is true that people participating in a call can look at the other people’s faces and could detect their emotions as we do every day when meeting people. However, AI can go a step further, it can use the record of previous calls and learn over time the mood of a specific person and the reaction to topics (or way to present a topic). Also, in several cases it can be more accurate, it can even detect stress and relate it to “lies”. Image recognition can capture subtle hints that our eyes are unable to detect, like increase in blood pressure/opening of capillaries (an indication of an increased level of adrenalin, correlated to stress).
Notice that most of our social life is based on (accepted) behaviour. Sometimes we try to provide answers or touch topic that avoid upsetting the other party. Wearing a “social” mask is part of life in a community. If you were to always voice what you think social life might become hard. This is one of the objection to the practical applicability of “brain reading” technologies.
You may not like this evolution, however, just in case, remember to smile in your next conference call. Besides, even if there will not be any AI lurking beyond the scene, smiling always help!