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Emotion Recognition Systems Could Be Used In Job Interviews ( 145

dcblogs writes: Emotion recognition software identifies micro-expressions through video analysis. These are expressions that may be as fast as 1/25 of a second and invisible to the human eye, but a close analysis of video can detect them. These systems are being used in marketing research, but some employers may be interested in using them to assess job candidates.

Vendors claim these systems can be used to develop a personality profile and discover a good cultural fit. The technology raises concerns, illustrated earlier this year who showed that face-reading technology could use photographs to determine sexual orientation with a high degree of accuracy.

One company has already added face recognition into their iPad-based time clock, which the company's CEO thinks could be adapted to also detect an employee's mood when they're clocking out. Yet even he has his reservations. While he thinks it could provide more accurate feedback from employees, he also admits that "There's something very Big Brother about it."
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Emotion Recognition Systems Could Be Used In Job Interviews

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  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday December 09, 2017 @06:34PM (#55708165)

    A real use for those Botox injections.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A real use for those Botox injections.

      Hey, be nice!

      It's the only thing Nancy Pelosi has ever been ahead of the curve on that didn't cost US citizens money or freedom!

  • Fake it til you make it! Classic advice from a time before "expert" computerized lie detectors in the form of emotion recognition. Now its fake it until Big Brother is sufficiently advanced enough, and commodotized enough to see through you.
    • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:15PM (#55708309)

      There used to be a box, sold sometimes in kit form, that detected micro-tremors in your voice. Some believe that the microtremors, mostly sub-audible, were a sign of deception. There were phone-attachments for them, too. It didn't even take a computer to detect these tremors, or for the device to be thought of as a lie detector.

      This was thirty years ago. This is nothing new. Facial recognition is the same way-- finding twitching muscles could be a toothache or a rebuke. Pick one.

      • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:26PM (#55708347)

        Sound's like a management wet dream. I have a better idea, we put management through one of these detectors every morning. If their attitude isn't one of helpfulness to employees, they get sent home with no pay for the day. We'll test them regularly through the day as well just to make sure the attitude is constant.

        • You mean 1984 is here?

          Why bother when you can buy a prospective candidate's browser history, and typify him/her/whatever against various desirable/undesirable profiles/? Why not have a bot do it and save yourself time?

          "Siri/Cortana/Alexa, dig up the dirt on social security #504-22-5555. Map profile against StockDesirable#11442. Grade. Display."

          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            The time clock that can detect micro expressions is a set fee.
            The time clock that can match home browser logs to a face is extra to rent.
      • Everyone with anxiety issues shall be made permanently unemployed by this technology.

  • Darn near every example quoted could be argued as some time of hiring discrimination. "Good cultural fit"? Haha, might as well get your lawyers on speed dial.

    MAYBE just MAYBE you could try to argue that it would allow you to detect a candidate who is full of it, but this idea overall sounds like a legal nightmare.
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @06:42PM (#55708203) Journal

    One thing psychopaths are great at, is simulating emotions. The rest of us get nervous and stumble under certain pressures. Not psychopaths. They will have an even greater advantage if such software is utilized for recruiting.

    • So? Do you have any evidence that psychopaths make worse employees? For many jobs, moral and ethical qualms can be a major impediment to performance.

      As the old saying goes: "Never hire a salesman that you'd want your daughter to marry."

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The company I work for has a psychopath as a CEO/President.

        Besides me hating being in the same room as him (that fake smile, that he points out any sign of weakness or simple guffaws like dropping something on the floor or having a food intolerance, and he specifically draws out shy people to put them on the spot). Oh, and I suppose he performed accounting tricks to overvalue the company when it changed equity group hands.

        Naturally the new equity owners want these impossible profit margins, something about

        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @10:39PM (#55708943)

          The company I work for has a psychopath as a CEO/President.

          Just because you don't like the guy doesn't mean he isn't an effective CEO. Being effective is not the same as being popular.

          Psychopaths often make better leaders [] because they can ignore the emotions, look at the big picture, and make clear utilitarian decisions. This is especially true for military leadership, where a callous and aggressive push for victory will often result in far fewer casualties than cautious dithering.

          • The impression I get from AC is that he's not a good CEO. He managed to get the company into real trouble. The equity group wants impossible profit margins, and they will put a lot of pressure on the company. In the meantime, people who can get another job are likely to, and their positions won't be filled, so the staff will steadily become less effective.

            Eliminating R&D can make this quarter's profit margins look better, but it will likely kill or cripple the company in a few years. Most compani

      • So? Do you have any evidence that psychopaths make worse employees? For many jobs, moral and ethical qualms can be a major impediment to performance.

        As the old saying goes: "Never hire a salesman that you'd want your daughter to marry."

        Would you want to work for such people? I have and one of them almost succeeded in getting me fired when I asked HR for an investigation. It turns out he called security and claimed I did an authorized investigation and I was not a lawyer to do so and CCed the chief legal officer.

        He kept his job, I got a write up initially and was about ready to be shown the door when I explained I wanted to see if he was stealing and asked security simply to check the videos on that day to our back room YIKES!

        They eventual

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          I wanted to see if he was stealing and asked security simply to check the videos

          How to avoid damaging your career: Always tread very carefully on matters like these. Most companies (certainly ones with over a thousand employees) will have a process that can be followed, and/or whistleblower hotlines.

          Use these. Stick strictly to them, always approach it from, "I'm concerned the company may be at risk here" and never mention personalities or personal impacts, and always plan carefully before doing or saying anything.

          It's an odd thing but companies and managers will always tell you they w

    • No kidding.

      I just got turned down from a job failing a background check. It turns out I worked for a project with CompuCom 6 years ago but totally forget another headhunter brought me in. So the name of the 2 contracting companies got reversed ... and I was off by 2 months since it was awhile back.

      The employer assumed I lied for 2 years on 2 different occasions. It pissed me off as when I got the offer before it was rescinded I turned down 2 other employers and waiting for over a month.

      To make matters worse

  • If you tell me I am tormenting a turtle, I am likely to punch you in the face.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Isn't the standard practice to bluff through that question then react somewhat more strongly when he asks you to tell him about your mother?

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @06:49PM (#55708219)
    Interviewer: You are in a desert. You: Ok. Interviewer: Bill Gates is also there. He's torturing a little turtle. You: Ok. Interviewer: What do you do? You: I help Bill Gates torture the turtle. Interviewer: Welcome to Microsoft!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The thing it will detect 99% of the time is people being nervous.

  • Clocking out? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @06:56PM (#55708237)

    "One company has already added face recognition into their iPad-based time clock, which the company's CEO thinks could be adapted to also detect an employee's mood when they're clocking out"

    Shouldn't they be a bit more concerned about their mood while clocking in?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Shouldn't they be a bit more concerned about their mood while clocking in?"

      Three unemployed men find themselves in the same bar in an American town. They ask each other why they lost their jobs.
      The first unemployed man says that he used to arrive at work everyday looking sad. He was fired for wanting to start a union.
      The second unemployed man says that he used drive to work looking happy everyday. He was fired for accepting a bribe.
      The third unemployed man says, "I used to walk into work looking t
  • "There's something very Big Brother about it"...

    Yeah, no shit. Seriously, people?

    A better application: use this in MMOs to shape the current expression of your avatar. Another idea: use to auto-select emoji in messaging apps on request. Yet another application might be when doing in-house beta software testing. Testers are often recorded in an attempt to gauge reaction to the software they're using. Detecting emotion might be very helpful here, and in fact, less intrusive than the typical "keep talking

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?

  • what's a tortoise? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guygo ( 894298 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:02PM (#55708263)
    "You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you..."
  • Basically a way to gauge applicants without the biases of the interviewer and give everyone a fair chance regardless of anything. However I then remember how often I've seen them screw up something simple and straightforward like variations of the fizz-buzz test that I figure it's not damn likely they'll use this remotely correctly. (But hey, I'm cynical)
  • "Hire-Vue" does this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:42PM (#55708373) Homepage
    I applied for an awesome-sounding "general-purpose nerd" job (i.e. "handle all the IT and helpdesk stuff for a small-mid-sized company") for a local company, their HR executive sent me a link to do one of these one-way online improvisational-acting interviews through "Hire-Vue" (they present you, one at a time, with around 5-10 of those now-standard screening-questions, e.g. "What do you know about this company?" or "How would you describe the color yellow to someone who was blind?", etc., then you get 30 seconds to think about the question, then 3 minutes to answer it on video. No advance warning of what the questions might be, nor do you get to re-take.). Then afterwards you get a typical automated "someone will contact you if Hire-Vue decides you're good enough at doing whatever the heck Hire-Vue's algorithms are looking for in your face and voice" email and wait. Unless HR is kind enough to tell you (probably not), you'll never have any idea how you did, and will have a difficult time ever getting better at it without that feedback.

    Hire-Vue's schtick seems to be that their mysterious proprietary algorithm does magical "machine learning" analysis of your face and voice in the video answers it took, then it generates a magical "insight score" to tell the HR people whether or not you suck, along with how "confident" and "enthusiastic" and who knows how many other attributes Hire-Vue thinks it can detect (seems to also be special proprietary information, so I don't even really know what it was looking for.) I expect most people get marked down for not making "eye contact" with the webcam (rather than looking at the "person" - i.e. your own live video - on the screen like a normal human being.)

    I will say that the process was more fun than I expected, but I'm not at all confident that Hire-Vue's robot won't sabotage my attempt to find gainful employment.

    Also note that this format just coincidentally makes it easy to conveniently get an idea of whether you're "old", what your racial background and gender may be, etc., so if they are so inclined, HR can conveniently throw out your application if there's something there that they don't feel like talking to.

    It's only been a week, so no idea yet how it went. Job-hunting these days is itself one of the worst jobs right now.

    • Well did you get the job?

      I have been on many interviews and these are far from fun and I find them insulting and demeaning to desperate candidates who just want to work and have to jump thru hoops and be walked and weeded like cattle. I typically find companies who do this are old fashioned and have a terrible and power hungry HR department and do not have high regard to employees and assume we are all just black boxes.

      So what if you are not the most confident or pause with an odd question? That does not me

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @10:36PM (#55708937)

        There have been interviews where about a half hour in, I decided I would rather starve than work there.

        After that, it was all about fucking with them. Times already wasted, might as well make something of it.

        • There have been interviews where about a half hour in, I decided I would rather starve than work there.

          After that, it was all about fucking with them. Times already wasted, might as well make something of it.

          Be careful what you wish for my friend.

          But yes the point of the interview should be a 2 way meeting, but when you have no job you have little options. What really gets me also is those stupid Taleo Applicant tracking systems that can take well over 1 hour to fill out only to never hear back. HR LOVES these as the program does the recuiting for them.

          Many big companies have updated them not to be so soulless or use LinkedIn now to respect the applicants time more. I think after reading this and seeing the stu

          • The best time to look for a job, is when you've already got one. Than you can just laugh about the bad ones, recreate 'Monty Python' skits ('Management trainee interview') in the HR office.

        • After that, it was all about fucking with them. Times already wasted, might as well make something of it.

          That sounds like fun. Any stories?

          I wonder what would happen if you manipulated your appearance to try to fool this device? Maybe draw two dots below my eyes to confuse the algorithm.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for the warning. If I get wind of one of these machine-interviews as I search for a new role, I now know to cancel the application at the outset. Use of such technology tells me one thing for clear, which is that HR is completely inept AND corrupted and that the company culture is incompatible with my employment.
      I'd rather flip burgers than give the machine extra data, which could effectively short-circuit EVERY job application I make in the future. Once they have that "data", they can sell it how th

  • Can they also recognize the middle finger?
  • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:59PM (#55708417)
    "Capillary dilation of the so-called blush response? Fluctuation of the pupil? Involuntary dilation of the iris?" - Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Blade Runner
  • If they can build something as complicated as an emotion detector. It would be easy street to get rid of the brainless big boys.. Interviewers and accessors.. why not managers - maybe more :) Heck, why am I sad about this?? I want to see the TOP tier lose their jobs in a corporation! BYE BYE CEO's!! Here's your negative automation!! Your golden parachute turned to lead.. Happy landings!!
  • How come AI hasn't replaced politicians. Most of them don't even have one good thought in their head or think at all.. We could save billions!!
  • doesnt mean much, some of the people that grate my cheese are some of the best people in their jobs, most of the people that fit in well with everyone else are functionally useless

    I mean its cool I can talk star trek over lunch, but I needed that dwg like 2 weeks ago and I just sent it to your dumb ass for the 3rd time cause its garbage

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @08:36PM (#55708533) Journal

    Candidate 1: Nervous

    Candidate 2: Nervous

    Candidate 3: Nervous

    Candidate 4: Calm, but high

  • interviewer: I thought we established there would be no smoking during the interview. me: I'm not smoking, it's your stupid little emotion detection machine over there.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, make it easier to get people hired not harder.

  • What will happen to me if they discover I'm really a malfunctioning smart blender?! ;)

  • The point of a computerized system is scale. I.e., the bot would be monitoring your displayed emotion every second of the day.

    Crazy? When you're distinguishing your commodity through affective labor (a Pret a Manger []), it almost seems inevitable.

  • Why worry about Big Brother systems? Everyone we've talked to who has one says the system is great! Surely that many people can't all be wrong... or coerced...
  • by J-1000 ( 869558 ) on Sunday December 10, 2017 @12:24AM (#55709203)
    One more way for me to filter out bad potential employers.
  • Marketing hype? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Sunday December 10, 2017 @01:28AM (#55709333) Homepage

    Different people express emotions differently. That's why it's so hard to guess what someone is feeling.

    For example, for some people, pausing before responding to a question means they don't know the answer, for others, it means that the person is carefully considering the nuances of a response.

    In order to properly understand expressions, context is key. This is true of understanding spoken language as well. Computers are getting pretty good at understanding spoken language, but certainly not better than humans themselves. My guess is that this will be true of understanding emotions for some time.

    All this leads me to believe that this is, at least in part, marketing hype.

  • A better use for my TENS unit []. It ain't getting rid of the beer gut or hemorrhoids. I'm going to stick the pads to either side of my face and have it going during the interview. Could be interesting. I should probably use new pads too.
  • You're in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a user, it's crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the user over on its back. The user lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't, not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that?

    Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.

    with apologies to []

  • A: Is this the test now?
    Q: You look up and you see a programmable relative cursor on a Cartesian plane...
    A: What's that?
    Q: Know what a LOGO turtle is?
    A: I've never seen a turtle -- But I understand what you mean.
    Q: Same thing.
    A: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden, or do they write them down for you?
    Q: You're watching some source code scroll by. Suddenly you realize there's a bug...
    A: I'd kill it.
    Q: You're surfing a StackOverflow and you come across a flaming fullpage answer utilizing Common
  • This would almost certainly discriminate against protected groups - e.g. people with learning disabilities such as Aspergers.

  • Is this the one about tortoises?

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.