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M vs Microsoft: Episode 20

Can AI understand emotions related to condescension and superiority?

What is happening here?

The man in the picture, Ron Skinner, is an attorney and the manager of the Waldemere Family Trust Fund. The fund was founded by a very kind woman, whose main goal was to make this world a better place. She puts her trust in her attorney, Ron, to manage her fund and promote a good cause.

Employed and trusted by the founder, Ron is obligated to work in her best intentions. However the founder doesn’t know Ron’s true character, which does not align with hers. Instead of working towards a good cause, Ron is stealing the fund to buy the farm lands for massive commercial development. In order to achieve his evil goals, he doesn’t care about breaking the law.

In order for him to buy the farm lands as cheaply as possible, he is using his connections with dirty politicians to cut off the freshwater supply to farm lands. This prevents farmers from growing crops and making their livelihood. If the farmland does not produce crops, it is not functioning as it should, then the price of the farm land depreciates way below the proper market price.

He then uses thugs to intimate the farmers into selling their land to him, at a price much lower than the market price. Ron’s entire plan makes use of money from the fund (that was initially dedicated to a good cause) to manipulate these farmers and make money for himself.

At the moment in this picture, Ron is giving a speech at a committee meeting between the trust fund, farmers and other stakeholders in the community.

However, the community of farmers are aware of Ron’s character and actions. The farmers barrage Ron with questions and ‘boo’ at him to express their anger against Ron’s evil plans. Ron’s emotions in the incident are captured above. Let’s see what M and Microsoft analyze of his emotional state.

M vs Microsoft Azure Analysis

As you can see Project M correctly identifies the feeling of disgust felt by Ron as his primary emotion. It is also identifies anger and contempt as being equal secondary emotions. He is disgusted by the fact that they are asking him questions about the water and not paying attention to his speech. He feels anger because he has to endure booing from lower status people. He feels contempt due to his lack of compassion, and feelings of superiority towards the farmers.

For Microsoft Azure results, you can see that it identifies this emotionally charged image as happy and neutral as a secondary emotion. From what we have learned from the context behind this image, happiness and neutral are clearly out of the realm of emotions Ron is experiencing. Project M, in fact, does not identify happy or neutral 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 January 1, 2020, the Project M team has devoted 76,000 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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