Microsoft has announced it will stop selling technology that can guess emotions based on a facial image.
The company said it would no longer grant access to facial reconstruction and customers would henceforth have to seek permission to use its facial recognition services. The technology enable people to log into websites or open locked doors through a face scan.
Existing customers have the grace of a year before they lose access to AI tools designed to infer emotions, gender, age, smile, facial hair, hair and makeup.
Microsoft’s decision came after the company decided to investigate the notion that emotion recognition systems are rooted in science.
“These efforts raised important questions about privacy, the lack of consensus on a definition of ’emotions, and the inability to generalize the linkage between facial expression and emotional state across use cases, regions, and demographics,” Sarah Bird, principal group product manager at Microsoft’s Azure AI unit, said in a blog post.
With lawmakers determined to curb tracking and guarantee user privacy and racial inclusion, technology companies are being forced to make new decisions to better align themselves with upcoming laws.