Happy Face? Microsoft Website Uses AI to Scan Photos for Emotions


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By Devin Coldewey

Can a computer know how you're feeling? With a little smarts and a lot of reference photos, it can at least make a guess, and a new website provided by Microsoft does just that. Upload or link to a picture with a couple human faces in it, and the artificial intelligence behind the site will attempt to rate each one's happiness, disgust, sadness and more.

Go ahead and give it a try — it seems a little biased toward happiness, but then who takes a picture of themselves looking contemptuous?

Related: Why Facebook is Researching Artificial Intelligence

It's all part of an effort by Microsoft to promote its AI tools, which it is providing for free to anyone who wants to use them — for instance, in an app that chooses emoji based on your actual expression, or to gauge customers' happiness at checkout in a store. The company is also providing systems that can tell who is speaking on a call, follow people's faces in a video and automatically edit, or — though this has limited utility — rate your mustache.

The set of tools together are known as Project Oxford, and Microsoft is providing the software behind them for integration with developers' own code as well as demonstration sites like this emotion detector.