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Digital video surveillance systems can’t just identify who someone is. They can also work out how someone is feeling and what kind of personality they have. They can even tell how they might behave in the future. And the key to unlocking this information about a person is the movement of their head.

That is the claim made by the company behind the VibraImage artificial intelligence (AI) system. (The term “AI” is used here in a broad sense to refer to digital systems that use algorithms and tools such as automated biometrics and computer vision). You may never have heard of it, but digital tools based on VibraImage are being used across a broad range of applications in Russia, China, Japan and South Korea.

But as I show in my recent research, published in Science, Technology and Society, there is very little reliable, empirical evidence that VibraImage and systems like it are actually effective at what they claim to do.

Among other things, these applications include identifying “suspect” individuals among crowds of people. They are also used to grade the mental and emotional states of employees. Users of VibraImage include police forces, the nuclear industry and airport security. The technology has already been deployed at two Olympic Games, a FIFA World Cup and a G7 Summit.

In Japan, clients of such systems include one of the world’s leading facial recognition providers (NEC), one of the largest security services companies (ALSOK), as well as Fujitsu and Toshiba. In South Korea, among other uses it is being developed as a contactless lie detection system for use in police interrogations. In China, it has already been officially certified for police use to identify suspicious individuals at airports, border crossings and elsewhere.

Across east Asia and beyond, algorithmic security, surveillance, predictive policing and smart city infrastructure are becoming mainstream. VibraImage forms one part of this emerging infrastructure. Like other algorithmic emotion detection systems being developed and deployed globally, it promises to take video surveillance to a new level. As I explain in my paper, it claims to do this by generating information about subjects’ characters and inner lives that they don’t even know about themselves.

Vibraimage has been developed by Russian biometrist Viktor Minkin through his company ELSYS Corp since 2001. Other emotion detection systems try to calculate people’s emotional states by analysing their facial expressions. By contrast, VibraImage analyses video footage of the involuntary micro movements, or “vibrations”, of a person’s head, which are caused by muscles and the circulatory system. The analysis of facial expressions to identify emotions has come under growing criticism in recent years. Could VibraImage provide a more accurate approach?

Surveillance systems can profile individuals in huge crowds.
Credit: Pexels
Surveillance systems can profile individuals in huge crowds.

Minkin puts forward two theories apparently supporting the idea that these movements are tied to emotional states. The first is the existence of a “vestibulo-emotional reflex” based on the idea that the body’s system responsible for balance and spatial orientation is related to psychological and emotional states. The second is a “thermodynamic model of emotions”, which draws a direct link between specific emotional-mental states and the amount of energy expended by muscles. What’s more, Minkin claims this energy can be measured through tiny vibrations of the head.

According to these theories, involuntary movement of the face and head are therefore emotion, intention and personality made visible. In addition to spotting suspect individuals, supporters of VibraImage also believe this data can be used to determine personality type, identifying adolescents more likely to commit crimes, or categorising types of intelligence based on nationality and ethnicity. They even suggest it could be used to create a 1984-style test of loyalty to the values of a company or nation, based on how someone’s head vibrations change in response to statements.

But the many claims made about its effects seem unprovable. Very few scientific articles on VibraImage have been published in academic journals with rigorous peer review processes – and many are written by those with an interest in the success of the technology. This research often relies on experiments that already assume VibraImage is effective. How exactly certain head movements are linked to specific emotional-mental states is not explained. One study from Kagawa University of Japan found almost no correlation between the results of a VibraImage assessment and those of existing psychological tests.

In a statement in response to the claims in this article, Minkin says that VibraImage is not an AI technology, but “is based on understandable physics and cybernetics and physiology principles and transparent equations for emotions calculations”. It may use AI processing in behavior detection or emotion recognition when they have “technical necessity for it”.

He also argues that people might assume the technology is “fake” as “contactless and simple technology of psychophysiological detection looks so fantastic”, and because it is associated with Russia. Minkin has also published a technical response to my paper.

‘Suspect AI’

One of the main reasons why it is so difficult to prove whether VibraImage works is its underlying premise that the system reveals more about subjects than they know about themselves. But there is no compelling evidence that that’s the case.

I propose the term “suspect AI” to describe the growing number of systems that algorithmically classify individuals as suspects, yet I argue are themselves deeply suspect. They are opaque, unproven, developed and implemented without democratic input or oversight. They are also largely unregulated, and possess the potential for serious harm.

VibraImage is not the only such system out there. Other AI systems to detect suspicious or deceptive individuals have been trialed. For example, Avatar has been tested on the US-Mexico border, and iBorderCtrl at the EU’s borders. Both are designed to detect deception among migrants. In China, VibraImage-based systems and similar products are being used for a growing range of applications in law enforcement, security and healthcare.

The broader algorithmic emotion recognition industry was worth up to US$12 billion in 2018. It is expected to reach US$37.1 billion by 2026. Amid growing global concern about the need to create rules around the ethical development of AI, we need to look far more closely at such opaque algorithmic systems of surveillance and control.

The European Commission’s recently announced draft AI regulations categorize the use of emotion recognition systems by law enforcement as “high-risk” and subject to a higher level of governance control. This is an important start. Other countries should now follow this lead to ensure that possible harms from these high-risk systems are minimized.The Conversation

This article by James Wright, Research Associate, Alan Turing Institute, is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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The newest Nest Thermostat rarely goes on sale, but it’s $99.98 for Prime Day

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If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on
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The first-generation Nest Learning Thermostat crammed a wide range of brilliant convenience and energy-saving features into a design that was sleek and stylish. Needless to say, it was a total game-changer when it was first released. One simple device could not only save you a bunch of money and make controlling your HVAC system more convenient, but it also looked so cool and futuristic compared to all the regular thermostats out there. After all, they were just a bunch of ugly white boxes. Long story short, the Nest Learning Thermostat had it all.

So many people out there think that Nest’s flagship thermostat is still the best smart thermostat on the planet, and you won’t hear any arguments from us. In fact, we use the latest model in our own home and we love it. The problem is that the Nest Learning Thermostat is quite expensive compared to some of the newer options out there. Even while it’s on sale with a deep discount on Amazon, it’s still nearly $200. The good news is that you can get all the smart features that make Nest’s Learning Thermostat so great in the newer, less expensive model called simply the Nest Thermostat. It retails for $130 and that’s already a bargain, but pop over to Amazon right now and you’ll see that the Nest Thermostat is on sale with a rare discount for Prime Day that drops it to the lowest price ever!

The newest Nest Thermostat doesn’t have the same sleek stainless steel design as the flagship model. But if you ask us, it features a different design that’s just as stylish. The face of the new Nest has a unique mirror finish with a digital display underneath it, and it comes in four different colors to match any home decor. Most importantly, of course, the Nest Thermostat includes all of the important smart features from the flagship model. You’ll be able to control your thermostat from anywhere using the Nest app or your voice thanks to Google Assistant and Alexa support, and you’ll save plenty of money on your energy bill thanks to Nest’s intelligent features that tune your settings constantly and learn from your behavior.

With a list price of just $130, Google’s newest Nest Thermostat is a terrific value. All things considered, it may very well be the best value out there and it’s going to pay for itself in savings on your energy bills. But if you head over to Amazon right now and pick one up, you’ll pay just $99.98!

The only bad news is that we’ve seen this discount disappear already on a few different color options, so you probably don’t have much time left if you want to get in on the action. If you do miss out on this deal, the good news is that you can still snag the flagship Nest Learning Thermostat for just $199.

Google Nest Thermostat – Smart Thermostat for Home – Programmable Wifi Thermostat – Snow Price:$99.98 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
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Here are some of the important details:

  • The Nest Thermostat is an ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostat that combines efficiency with convenience
  • Works with or without a C wire in most homes
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  • Nest’s learning features let the thermostat automatically turn your AC or heat off when you leave, and back on when you arrive home
  • Controllable using the Nest app on iOS and Android devices, or with voice commands thanks to support for Alexa and Google Assistant
  • The special “Savings Finder” feature suggests tweaks to your schedule to help you save even more money while still remaining comfortable
  • Monitors your HVAC system and sends you an alert if something isn’t working properly

Google Nest Thermostat – Smart Thermostat for Home – Programmable Wifi Thermostat – Snow Price:$99.98 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
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Follow @BGRDeals on Twitter to keep up with the latest and greatest deals we find around the web. Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited supply.

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Keep your allergies at bay with this Prime Day deal on air purifiers

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Chris Hachey handles e-commerce and sponsored content for BGR. He has worked as an editor and writer for over a decade for various publications and distribution services. He focuses on consumer products to help you find the best of what’s on the market. When he’s not searching for the top deals, he’s likely watching his favorite sports teams or walking around his hometown with his fiancée and his dog.

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Amazon’s Prime Day smart TV prices are so low, it seems like someone made a mistake

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If you’re a BGR Deals reader, you’ve undoubtedly been following along with our coverage all day and you’ve saved a ton of cash on all the most popular products out there. Highlights from our coverage so far include FREE MONEY from Amazon (send yourself a $40 eGift card, get a free $10 Amazon credit), deep discounts on pretty much every popular Apple device you can think of including AirPods Pro and the Apple Watch, a new all-time low price on the hot new TP-Link Kasa smart plugs that everyone loves so much, the best Instant Pot deals of the year with prices starting at just $49.99, AirPods 2 for just $99.99, the crazy wireless camera that lets your smartphone see anywhere for an all-time low price of $28.85, the Fire TV Stick Lite for a new all-time low price of $17.99 and the Fire TV Stick 4K for an all-time low of $24.99 instead of $50, the $80 Echo Show 5 for the all-time low price of $44.99, an Echo Show 5 and Blink Mini Cam bundle for just $10 more, the best-selling Echo Dot for only $19.99, the new 4th-generation Echo Dot for half price at $24.99, the $50 Echo Auto that adds hands-free Alexa to your car for an all-time low of $14.99 or the $98 Echo Auto bundle with 6 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for the same crazy price of $14.99, Echo Buds true wireless earbuds starting at just $79.99 instead of $120, and so much more.

All of those deals are fantastic indeed, but there’s also a slew of Fire TV deals that you need to check out right now. Incredibly, a whopping 18 different smart TV deals are available right now on the site!

The Fire TV lineup is neck and neck with Roku in terms of popularity among our readers (there are a bunch of excellent Roku deals available right now at Amazon by the way, including the hot new Roku Express 4K+ for just $29.99). Now, some of the best products in Amazon’s Fire TV portfolio are even more affordable thanks to deep discounts.

There is perhaps no streaming media player at the $50 price point that comes anywhere close to matching the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is on sale right now for $39.99. But if you’re in the market for a new smart TV, there are so many deals you need to see. Amazon is offering incredible discounts on 18 different Fire TV Edition televisions ranging in size from 24 inches all the way up to 70 inches. “Fire TV Edition” means Amazon’s Fire TV streaming software is built right into the TV, so you don’t need to worry about getting a separate media player.

Prices start at just $99.99 for an Insignia 24-inch Smart Fire TV, and the #1 best-seller of the bunch is the Toshiba 32-inch Smart Fire TV that’s on sale for $129.99 instead of $200. You can also pick up Insignia’s 43-inch Smart Fire TV for $219.99, down from $320, and Toshiba’s 50-inch Smart Fire TV that typically sells for $430 is on sale for $309.99.

Want to go bigger? Don’t worry because Amazon’s got you covered. The Insignia 65-inch Smart 4K Fire TV that normally sells for $630 is down to just $449.99 right now, and the massive Insignia 70-inch Smart 4K Fire TV that retails for $700 is on sale for just $529.99 if you’re a Prime member. That price is so low, it seems like someone made a mistake!

You can see all 18 deals on this special Amazon page, and you’ll find a few of our favorites down below.


Fire TV Sticks

  • The Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon’s most powerful streaming media player ever with the popular dongle form factor
  • Supports all of your favorite streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV+, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+, Discovery+, and so much more.
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  • Plenty of games and other apps to choose from in Amazon’s app store
  • The included Alexa voice remote lets you control your content and more with your voice

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Fire TV Edition Televisions

INSIGNIA NS-70DF710NA21 70-inch Smart 4K UHD – FireTV, Released 2020 List Price:$699.99 Price:$529.99 You Save:$170.00 (24%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
Insignia NS-24DF310NA21 24-inch Smart HD 720p TV – Fire TV List Price:$169.99 Price:$99.99 You Save:$70.00 (41%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
Toshiba 32LF221U21 32-inch Smart HD 720p TV – Fire TV, Released 2020 List Price:$199.99 Price:$129.99 You Save:$70.00 (35%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
Insignia NS-43DF710NA21 43-inch Smart 4K UHD – Fire TV, Released 2020 List Price:$319.99 Price:$219.99 You Save:$100.00 (31%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
Toshiba 50LF621U21 50-inch Smart 4K UHD with Dolby Vision – Fire TV, Released 2020 List Price:$429.99 Price:$309.99 You Save:$120.00 (28%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
All-New Insignia 55 inch NS-55F301NA22 F30 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV, Released 2021 List Price:$499.99 Price:$349.99 You Save:$150.00 (30%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now
INSIGNIA NS-65DF710NA21 65-inch Smart 4K UHD – Fire TV, Released 2020 List Price:$629.99 Price:$449.99 You Save:$180.00 (29%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now



Follow @BGRDeals on Twitter to keep up with the latest and greatest deals we find around the web. Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited supply.

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