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ZOOM AI System That Can Detect Emotions During Video Calls Raises Concerns

May 21, 2022

zoom ai systems scans users faces and detects emotions
A new AI system, ZOOM IQ, that is being developed by ZOOM, the video call company, has raised concerns among rights groups. The new system will be able to scan users’ faces and detect their emotions during a video call. This has people concerned about potential privacy issues, intrusion, very dangerous, and the misuse of this data.

The company says that the system “enables Zoom IQ end-users and managers to review metrics across their team, providing potential insights into trends and issues of their conversation techniques.” They say it will help salespeople to “close deals fast and delight your customers with Zoom’s sales conversation intelligence tool”

Zoom IQ for Sales provides analytics and report data for numerous metrics, such as:

Talk-listen ratio
Talking speed
Filler words
Longest spiel (monologue)
Patience
Engaging questions
Next steps set up
Sentiment/Engagement analysis

ZOOM also notes that ZOOM IQ “metrics and analytics are provided for informational purposes and may contain inaccuracies. Results are not intended to be used for employment decisions or other comparable decisions. All recommended ranges for metrics are based on publicly available research.”

The information, about ZOOM developing this AI system, was first reported last month by protocol in its article on how companies are using AI to monitor mood during sales call. In this protocol article, it also mentions a system called Q for Sales, which might indicate that a potential customer’s sentiment or engagement level perked up when a salesperson mentioned a particular product feature, but then drooped when the price was mentioned.

A digital rights group “Fight For The Future” wrote an open letter dated 10th May 2022, signed by itself and 27 other groups, to Eric S. Yuan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Zoom, that “This move to mine users for emotional data points based on the false idea that AI can track and analyze human emotions is a violation of privacy and human rights. Zoom needs to halt plans to advance this feature.”

The letter requested that ZOOM publicly replies to their request to halt the implementation of this emotion AI by Friday 20th May 2022, but at the time of writing this article we are not aware of any response from ZOOM to this open letter yet.

“If Zoom advances with these plans, this feature will discriminate against people of certain ethnicities and people with disabilities, hardcoding stereotypes into millions of devices,” said Caitlin Seeley George, director of campaign and operations at Fight for the Future, told Thomson Reuters Foundation

 

A digital rights group “Fight For The Future” wrote an open letter dated 10th May 2022, signed by itself and 27 other groups, to Eric S. Yuan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Zoom, that “This move to mine users for emotional data points based on the false idea that AI can track and analyze human emotions is a violation of privacy and human rights. Zoom needs to halt plans to advance this feature.”

In ZOOM’s documentation about ZOOM IQ for Sales, in relation to talk-listen metrics provided by ZOOM IQ, it says the talk-listen ratio of each user allows teammates and managers to view the proportion of time the speaker is actively speaking in a meeting and also how well the speaker is able to engage the customer or prospect to participate. Using analysis of data across multiple sales reps, deals, and conversations, managers can get an ideal pattern of this talk-listen ratio, which can be used to adjust their strategies to improve the deal closing rate.

Another ZOOM IQ for Sales metrics, Sentiment, provides sales reps and managers a way of assessing the customer’s sentiment. This is based on the entire meeting’s analysis and mainly focuses on the sentiment of the conversations, with higher scores indicating a more positive affect and scores around 50 indicating a neutral sentiment.

There is also general concern about the accuracies of these ZOOM IQ metrics and analytics for accurately measuring the emotions of humans. Humans will respond differently when they know they are being recorded so their facial and emotional responses could be different and not necessarily reflect their real thoughts.

AI technology used in such situations like this to scan faces to detect human emotions is definitely raising eyebrows and really concerning ZOOM users that technology is becoming increasingly intrusive and very dangerous. Some say this ZOOM IQ is “creepy”. Some users are now deciding to stay away from the use of ZOOM for anything.

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