Privacy Groups Urge Zoom To Abandon Emotion AI 


Multiple human rights organisations have asked Zoom to keep emotion-tracking AI out of its products, calling the technology discriminatory, reliant on pseudoscience and potentially dangerous.

Almost 30 advocacy groups cosigned a letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, urging him to abandon research into emotion AI, which uses facial expressions and vocal cues to determine a user’s state of mind.

The letter’s signatories, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said emotion AI’s invasive nature, inaccuracy and potential for misuse would harm Zoom users. Zoom did not respond to a request for comment.

Advocacy group Fight for the Future started the campaign in reaction to a Protocol story about Zoom’s plans to incorporate emotion AI in products. The organisation said Zoom has a responsibility as an industry leader to protect the public from such problematic tech. The groups said that emotion AI’s invasive monitoring would violate worker privacy and human rights.

Zoom has seized on AI to add value to video meetings. Last month, the company launched an AI sales tool that analyses video call transcripts, using data like the number of questions a customer asked to determine if they were engaged. The IQ for Sales feature is the first in a series of planned AI add-ons for Zoom.

The privacy groups have asked Zoom to answer their concerns by May 20. The company has not replied yet, but Fight for the Future is hopeful for a meaningful discussion on the topic.