Snake Oil Salesman Alex Martin and AC Global Risk’s “Remote Risk Assessment”

Alexander Martin (LinkedIn profile)

In “The Dangerous Junk Science of Vocal Risk Assessment,” Ava Kofman of The Intercept examines “Remote Risk Assessment,” a voice stress analysis application being marketed by AC Global Risk, a San Francisco-based company led by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Alexander Martin. The company characterizes Remote Risk Assessment as “a sophisticated system that uses unique voice analytics processes to evaluate and quantify distinct characteristics of the human voice related to risk.” Excerpt:

AC Global Risk declined to respond to repeated requests for comment for this article. The company also did not respond to a list of detailed questions about how the technology works. In public appearances, however, Martin has claimed that the company’s proprietary analytical processes can determine someone’s risk level with greater than 97 percent accuracy…. Several leading audiovisual experts who reviewed AC Global Risk’s publicly available materials for The Intercept used the word “bullshit” or “bogus” to describe the company’s claims. “From an ethical point of view, it’s very dubious and shady to give the impression that recognizing deception from only the voice can be done with any accuracy,” said Björn Schuller, a professor at the University of Augsburg who has led the field’s major academic challenge event to advance the state of the art in vocal emotion detection. “Anyone who says they can do this should themselves be seen as a risk.”

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