Across China, facial-recognition technology that can scan the country’s entire population is being put to use. In some cases, the technology can perform the task in just one second.
Sixteen cities, municipalities, and provinces are using a frighteningly fast surveillance system that has an accuracy rate of 99.8%, Global Times reported over the weekend.
“The system is fast enough to scan China’s population in just one second, and it takes two seconds to scan the world’s population,” the Times reported, citing local Chinese newspaper Worker’s Daily.
The system is part of Skynet, a nationwide monitoring program launched in 2005 to increase the use and capabilities of surveillance cameras.
According to developers, this particular system works regardless of angle or lighting condition and over the last two years has led to the arrest of more than 2,000 people.
The use of facial-recognition technology is soaring in China where it is being used to increase efficiencies and improve policing.
Cameras are used to catch jaywalkers, find fugitives, track people’s regular hangouts, and even predict crime before it happens.
Currently, there are 170 million surveillance cameras in China and, by 2020, the country hopes to have 570 million — that’s nearly one camera for every two citizens.
Facial recognition technology is just a small part of the artificial intelligence industry that China wants to pioneer.
According to a report by CB Insights, five times as many AI patents were applied for in China than the US in 2017.
And, for the first time, China’s AI scene gained more investment than that of the US last year. Of every available dollar going to AI startups around the world, nearly half went to companies in China.
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