Companies want to measure your feelings with emotion AI

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The Future. Several startups are leveraging a controversial tech called emotion artificial intelligence (EAI) to serve ads, monitor people’s reactions to film and TV trailers, assess the soft skills of prospective hires, and monitor employees’ emotions. With the rise of remote work and video conferencing, companies may soon be able to monitor the well-being of their workers wherever they are… whether they like it or not.

Smile, you’re on candid camera
The use of EAI is giving companies more customer insights than they ever thought possible… while also creating nightmares for employees.

  • EAI assesses facial expressions, muscular twitches, verbal cues, and pupil dilation (like Apple hopes to do with the Vision Pro) to determine moment-to-moment feelings.
  • This is typically done through a computer’s camera, but some companies have also equipped office chairs to record biometric data.
  • Companies then mix those findings with demographic data to turn them into cutting-edge customer insights… or not, since there’s a lot of debate about whether the technology is simply a bunch of pseudoscience.

But those controversies haven’t stopped brands like Disney and CBS from using the tech from firms like Smart Eye to recut a trailer if a joke isn’t working, or Ikea and Oracle from measuring the cognitive abilities of interviewees via the recruitment platform HireVue.

The scary use-cases include reports of call centers leveraging the tech to monitor employees’ attitudes on calls, which can then be used to assemble emotional profiles and can even affect their employment at the company.

And since none of this needs to be legally disclosed to employees, it could already be happening without your knowledge.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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