Technology 3 min read

Amazon Rekognition has Been Improved to Detect Fear

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Amazon Rekognition, the software for detecting emotion in images can now read fear.

Rekognition is a developer tool with various functions ranging from facial recognition to reading texts in images and videos that would be difficult for the naked eye to see.

Aside from that, users can also use the software for facial analysis or sentiment analysis. That means it can tag images showing people who are smiling, frowning, and more. Then, it can proceed with recording the said projected emotion.

Before now, the software could only detect seven emotions – sad, happy, disgust, angry, calm, surprised, and confused.

However, Amazon Web Services (AWS) issued a brief press release on August 12 announcing the addition of the eight emotion, fear.

Along with detecting the new emotion, the company claims to have increased the accuracy of the facial analysis technology.

Rekognition can now accurately identify a person’s gender as well as age range. Furthermore, improved facial analysis models can also work with videos or still pictures.

In their statement to the press, Amazon wrote:

“With this release, we have further improved the accuracy of gender identification. In addition, we have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Disgusted’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘Fear’. Lastly, we have improved age range estimation accuracy; you also get narrower age ranges across most age groups.”

The announcement comes amidst several controversies regarding how facial recognition technology is used.

Amazon Rekognition and the Controversies That Comes With It

Critics have expressed concerns about the technology, and rightly so.

Recently, Amazon Rekognition wrongly identified 28 members of Congress as criminals. And to the extent that’s too large to ignore, the facial recognition tech also misidentified women and people of color.

While some law enforcement agencies are already using it (with Amazon unable to ensure the best practices), a few police departments are doing the opposite.

Last month, Oakland became the third city in the United States, after Boston Suburb of Somerville and San Francisco, to ban facial recognition use. Then a few weeks ago, the Orlando Police Department discontinued its trial of Rekognition after 15 months of use.

Finally, there’s the age-long clash between community safety and privacy. This, more than anything, has turned the facial recognition technology into a controversial issue.

Although Amazon may have upgraded Rekognition to sense fear, the company appears to be missing the public’s fear of the Big Brother-style mass surveillance.

Catherine Ellis in TechRadar said:

“Rekognition might now be more accurate, but Amazon has its work cut out, making facial recognition palatable in public spaces.”

Read More: Amazon Surpasses Google to Become World’s Most Valuable Brand

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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