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AI Act: MEP Kolaja calls for prohibition of emotion recognition systems

31/03/2022 – Pirate Party MEP Marcel Kolaja, the CULT Committee opinion rapporteur on the Artificial Intelligence Act, tabled amendments suggesting a ban on emotion recognition systems. These systems claim to understand a person’s feelings in a particular moment based on the link between emotions, facial expressions, and physiological processes. But these techniques are flawed and they can be e asily abused to marginalize and discriminate European citizens. Health and research purposes shall be excluded from the ban.

Marcel Kolaja, a Czech Pirate, Member and Quaestor of the European Parliament, explains:

“The technology builds on massive data collection; however, even such collected data cannot reflect all of the cultural differences and can suffer from severe cultural and contextual bias. That can easily lead to discrimination based on your color of skin, country of origin, disabilities, and more.”

“We cannot allow technologies to dictate us which emotions are right or wrong”

“I am sure, I don’t need to explain that not everyone who grins from ear to ear truly feels joy and happiness inside. There is not just one link between our external expressions and our internal feelings. Imagine that you are at a job interview and the emotion recognition system detects that you lie, because you seem to feel stressed. But you tell the truth, and it is only the environment, that feels stressful for you at that particular moment. We cannot allow technologies to dictate us which emotions are right or wro ng,” Kolaja adds.

However, according to Kolaja, the emotion recognition system can be beneficial for research in health, e.g.  for people with autism. “What we need to avoid is the situation when these systems are reprogrammed for less beneficiary uses such as on-line targeted marketing,” Kolaja concludes.

Background:

On 24 April 2021, the European Commission published its legislative proposal laying down harmonized rules on artificial intelligence (AI Act), which introduces a regulatory framework with the objective of ensuring that AI systems placed on the European Union market are safe to use and respect fundamental rights. The CULT Rapporteur also proposes to ban deployment of facial recognition systems in publicly accessible places, following up on the Parliament resolution of 6 October 2021 on “Artificial intelligence in criminal law and its use by the police and judicial authorities in criminal matters”. The file should be voted in the CULT committee in May 2022. The AI Act is expected to be voted in plenary in November 2022.

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We, European Pirate Party (PPEU) (Club seat: Luxembourg), process personal data for the operation of this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in our privacy policy.