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"Excavating AI" Re-excavated: Debunking a Fallacious Account of the JAFFE Dataset

Lyons, Michael J.

Twenty-five years ago, my colleagues Miyuki Kamachi and Jiro Gyoba and I designed and photographed JAFFE, a set of facial expression images intended for use in a study of face perception. In 2019, without seeking permission or informing us, Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen exhibited JAFFE in two widely publicized art shows. In addition, they published a nonfactual account of the images in the essay “Excavating AI: The Politics of Images in Machine Learning Training Sets.” The present article recounts the creation of the JAFFE dataset and unravels each of Crawford and Paglen’s fallacious statements. I also discuss JAFFE more broadly in connection with research on facial expression, affective computing, and human-computer interaction.

n.b. All JAFFE images in this article are subject to specific terms of use and may not be reused without permission, regardless of the license applied to the document as a whole.
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