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We have to talk about emotional AI and crime

Emotional AI is an emerging technology used to make probabilistic predictions about the emotional states of people using data sources, such as facial (micro)-movements, body language, vocal tone or the choice of words. The performance of such systems is heavily debated and so are the underlying scientifc methods that serve as the basis for many such technologies. In this article I will engage with this new technology, and with the debates and literature that surround it. Working at the intersection of criminology, policing, surveillance and the study of emotional AI this paper explores and ofers a framework of understanding the various issues that these technologies present particularly to liberal democracies. I argue that these technologies should not be deployed within public spaces because there is only a very weak evidence-base as to their efectiveness in a policing and security context, and even more importantly represent a major intrusion to people’s private lives and also represent a worrying extension of policing power because of the possibility that intentions and attitudes may be inferred. Further to this, the danger in the use of such invasive surveillance for the purpose of policing and crime prevention in urban spaces is that it potentially leads to a highly regulated and control-oriented society. I argue that emotion recognition has severe impacts on the right to the city by not only undertaking surveillance of existing situations but also making inferences and probabilistic predictions about future events as well as emotions and intentions.

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We have to talk about emotional AI and crime
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