Intel is testing controversial new student surveillance software

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(Photo: Thomas Park/Unsplash)
Intel has partnered with an e-learning software company to produce a program that tracks student expressions.

The program, called Class, is AI-based and works with Zoom to analyze students’ faces in real time. It is said to be able to detect three emotional states: bored, confused and distracted. Intel and class technologies State the program “will give [teachers] additional information to allow them to communicate better,” solving the modern problem of disengagement in virtual classroom environments.

The class works by capturing images of students’ faces using computer vision technology and then comparing those images to psychological data and the current context. Despite the fact that people tend to express their emotions in different ways (especially across cultures and abilities), Intel denies that the resulting labels can carry “any assumptions” because the company only trained the AI. to see an expression in a certain way if two separate. the psychologists agreed on the emotion displayed.

(Image: Classroom Technologies)

By nature, this will require students to turn on their cameras, which (as others have pointed out) has both financial and social implications. Keeping your camera on during a video call uses more bandwidth, which can be a problem for those with a mobile hotspot or limited monthly usage. Revealing your physical past to others can also expose their socio-economic or family situation, which some find uncomfortable and unnecessarily intimate.

What is unclear is what will happen once Class identifies a student as bored, disengaged, or confused. Will the instructor send them a private message? Will the student need to take additional lessons until they are no longer considered confused? Although this is likely to be at the discretion of the instructor, it is worth considering whether students will be embarrassed – or worse, feel uncomfortable or unworthy – due to micro-expressions that they can’t really control. That’s if the instructors even want to use the technology, of course; some told Protocol that they would be against implementing Class and would be wary of any employer who demanded it. “I think most teachers, especially at the university level, would find this technology morally objectionable,” one said.

Class’ expression analysis technology is still in the testing phase. In the meantime, the software currently offered by Classroom Technologies already Automatically verifies student identities and ranks students based on their class conversation level.

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