What others would classify as science fiction has already become reality in China. Since the beginning of the new year, with millions of people passing through the railway stations every day, agents are able to identify passengers accused of having committed a crime only with glasses. For some this seems magical, for others it implies the danger of rapid advance of artificial intelligence in China.
The system has been successfully tested in Zhengzhou, capital of the overpopulated province of Henan. The agents, equipped with tinted glasses that incorporate a small camera, are located in all entrances of the high-speed station in the city. The camera is able to capture all the faces of passers-by, an information that crosses with the police database and looks for matches with the list of suspects of having committed a crime. The results are known almost immediately on a mobile device similar to a tablet.
Using this technique, the police have arrested seven suspected criminals so far since February 1. But not only does the system look for alleged criminals, but also verifies everyone’s identity who gets scanned. Therefore, 26 passengers got arrested for travelling with fake IDs.
China is deploying new technologies to monitor people in ways that would unnerve many in the West. Facial recognition has been rolled out in many aspects of every day life in the country, where there are few concerns over privacy.
Written by Laura Kabelka