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When Big Brother gets God’s Eye: China tries to catch up on AI

When Big Brother gets God’s Eye: China tries to catch up on AI

Robots dance at the 4th China Information Technology Expo in Shenzhen in April last year. Photo: Xinhua Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma saw his personal wealth increase as the company’s share price rocketed. Photo: Xinhua Future health care models must be more participatory in nature, with patients becoming active agents in managing their health rather than being passive recipients of care. Photo: Felix Wong Illiteracy is not forgivable, but for some weird reason innumeracy is. We tolerate this innumeracy and technological illiteracy at our peril The all-seeing God’s Eye, a system that can hack into any camera and locate anyone, anywhere in less than four minutes is one of the stars of the two latest instalments of the Fast and Furious blockbuster movie franchise.

In China’s most innovative city, Shenzhen, two US-educated Chinese scientists have found a way to turn part of God’s Eye into reality – if the authorities allow them to insert a tiny chip into surveillance cameras.

With the chip, a surveillance camera can greatly speed up human facial recognition and spot a criminal suspect in a crowd in just a few seconds. It has proved effective in at least in one district in Shenzhen and, according to publicly disclosed information, has helped police crack hundreds of cases and find a number of lost children.

The firm, Intellifusion, is just one of the fruits of China’s efforts to become a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that may profoundly change everyday life and that promises massive financial pay-offs.

China’s AI ambitions were emphasised at the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress in March and the message was not lost on the country’s biggest tech companies.

Beijing’s efforts to close the innovation gap with the United States have since been given a big boost, with billions of […]