Amazon Knows when we are Afraid

Welcome to the era when sentimental analytics are slowly becoming public domain.

Michael K. Spencer
Aug 18 · 4 min read

By acquiring Ring and fostering surveillance technology deals with the police, Amazon could be harming its reputation.

We already know what we say to Alexa might be transcribed and overseen by human contractors, just like any other tech product like FB Messenger, Skype, etc…

Amazon already has a rather poor relationship with its part-time and seasonal workers, especially those at E-commerce warehouses. Low wages, poor conditions, and increasing activism yes. But what if Amazon knew when we were anxious or afraid?

Surveillance State Cooperation

At the beginning of the surveillance state, we begin to take our lack of privacy for granted, it becomes normalized. Amazon won’t win the JEDI Cloud contract by accident later this year.

Amazon said this week its facial recognition software, Rekognition, can detect a person’s fear. So what does that really mean? It means the facial recognition and surveillance state is tapping into our emotions, our psychology and our hidden motivations.

If Google is a search engine and data company that knows our most intimate thoughts, Facebook knows even more about us. That Amazon might know our moods by our real-life conversations at home, and have facial recognition tech that can spot our facial cues for emotions, is pretty well, unsurprising!

Earlier this month in the Summer of 2019, it was made plain that Amazon is helping police convince people to hand over their Ring camera footage. So it begins! The Surveillance state is being normalized with the help of technology. What indeed is the real role of this social media and technology in shaping the future of the state and society?

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

The Race to Copy China

Rekognition is used for facial analysis or sentiment analysis. China is the leader in facial recognition startups, that specialize in helping the Chinese Government create a system of totalitarian control and behavior modification in what is known as a social credit system.

The surprising thing to me is how America is adopting elements of this already. You want to track your family members and send them “reminders” with Google Assistant? No problem, there’s a convenient product just for you! How easy, how creepy. Google loves doing evil couched in being convenient. But what is Amazon’s end-game here?

As it gets into advertising, what if you could send someone the perfect ad according to their emotional state and timing in terms of purchase triggers? Wouldn’t those cameras at Whole Foods be useful for those kinds of push notifications? Or at the friendly AmazonGo store, where no cashiers or humans are required? Haha, well.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

An Advertising Based Predictive Analytics Data Civilization

Amazon claims it can accurately identify seven emotions: happy, sad, angry, surprised, disgusted, calm and confused. Aw, sort of what China has been doing for about a decade now.

  • Rekognition is one of many Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services available for developers.
  • It can be used for facial analysis or sentiment analysis, which identifies different expressions and predicts emotions from images of people’s faces. The service uses artificial intelligence to “learn” from the reams of data it processes.

Oddly it didn’t dawn on privacy advocates or Congress that sentiment data is pretty much the equivalent to mental health data. Yep, Amazon is going after your health data already. This is really really important to point out! Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon are in a race for your health data, and this means not just your moods, habits, social life and conversations at home, but in being able to predict your future behavior.

The Police love Amazon Ring products too. Some police departments have asked Amazon’s Ring for advice on obtaining more footage from unreceptive residents, and Ring provides them with advice. If Huawei and Alibaba are Chinese Government arms, you sort of have to assume at this GAFMA big tech companies in the United States, all have “close ties” with Government agencies at this point too.

Photo by Ben Koorengevel on Unsplash

AI at the Service of Big Brother Consumerism

What goes around comes around, so don’t be too afraid of Amazon.

China rules the future of facial recognition and surveillance tech. But the United States have been surprisingly active trying to keep up.

Artificial intelligence researchers have invested plenty of resources to try and read a person’s emotions by analyzing their facial features, movements, voice and more.

You think Microsoft cares about ethics in technology? Some tech companies involved in the space include Microsoft, Affectiva and Kairos, among others.

Don’t think you are alone next time you are anxious. Over 200 police departments have reportedly partnered with Amazon, after which they are able to request footage via an interactive map in the “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal.”

We are witnessing an architecture being born that will change how we experience our own emotions. Big Brother is watching, quite literally. Because in 2019 we live in a world where the United States is even copying China to try to keep up.


Futurism articles bent on cultivating an awareness of exponential technologies while exploring the 4th industrial revolution.

Michael K. Spencer

Written by

Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, a prolific writer. Always writing. 🌞 DM me on Twitter for quotes:



Futurism articles bent on cultivating an awareness of exponential technologies while exploring the 4th industrial revolution.

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