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M vs Microsoft: Episode 19

Can AI understand emotions related to justice?

What is happening here?

Nurse Nic Nevin, pictured here, is trying to advocate for the patients that she takes care of in the free clinic that she runs. The free clinic is part of a bigger corporate hospital that is trying to cut funding to the free clinic in order to maximize their profit margins. Most of the patients that go into the free clinic are uninsured, so the hospital must take on the burden of their care.

Nic is angered by the fact that the hospital management cares more about money than the patients’ health and ultimate survival. Arguing with the CEO of the hospital, she is disgusted by the fact that he, who used to be a distinguished surgeon himself, could turn away sick patients just because of their inability to pay for treatment and feel no responsibility towards the health of these patients. She has a lower status in the hospital than the CEO, but feels like she cares more about its patients than he does (as the ultimate goal of hospital care staff should be). This may cause her to feel contemptuous towards him.

M vs Microsoft Analysis

Project M is able to capture the overwhelming feeling of anger felt by Nic as her primary emotion. It is also able to identify disgust and contempt (similar but not exactly the same emotions) as being equal secondary emotions. Disgust and Contempt are emotions that begin with the same roots (dislike & hatred) but contempt is associated with disdain toward others, whereas disgust is a more internal feeling. This shows M’s nuanced ability to not only capture but also differentiate between the range of human emotion.

On the other hand, Microsoft Azure identifies this emotionally charged image as primarily neutral, with a secondary emotion of happiness. Knowing the context behind this image, neutral and happiness are clearly out of the realm of emotions Nic is experiencing. Project M, in fact, does not identify ANY neutral or happy emotions.

Now it is up to you, our reader, to decide based on what you know of the facial image shown, what the correct interpretation of emotion is.


We at Project M believe the ability of emotional artificial intelligence platforms to identify and understand negative emotions has great potential to optimize humans’ emotional well being.

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*As of November 1, 2019, the Project M team has devoted 72,000 hours to the AI platform, M. The sample input data we are using is the pure testing data that is completely new to M and Microsoft (assumed) and has never been used to train M, so this comparison is a fair trial between M and Microsoft. We appreciate Microsoft, the leader of the industry and emotional AI sector, for allowing the general public to test their testing site for identifying human emotions based on facial expressions.

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