Microsoft Azure

The cloud-based FACE service provides developers with access to advanced face algorithms for face attribute detection and face recognition. Microsoft President Brad Smith stated on June 11, 2020 that Microsoft does not “and will not sell facial-recognition technology to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place, grounded in human rights, that will govern this technology.”

The team responsible for the development of the FACE facial recognition technology at Microsoft, worked with experts on bias and fairness across Microsoft to improve a system called the gender classifier, focusing specifically on getting better results for all skin tones.

It can now identify men and women with darker skin far more successfully than previous iterations of the technology. The updates particularly improve the system’s recognition capabilities for women with darker skin tones, reducing error rates for darker-skinned men and women by as much as 20 times and reducing error rates for all women by nine times.

Microsoft stated that it was able to “significantly reduce accuracy differences across the demographics” by expanding facial recognition training data sets, initiating new data collection around the variables of skin tone, gender and age and improving its gender classification system by “focusing specifically on getting better results for all skin tones.”

Company Type: Enterprise

Region: US & Canada

Industry Category: Facial Recognition Technology

Fighting Type of Bias: Racial bias Gender bias

Product: Face