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Facial Recognition Technology In China – A Force To Change The Future?

Facial Recognition Technology To Take Over China’s Law & Order, School, Cash Transactions


Do you think black mirror’s last episode titled ‘Crocodile’ was a secret protest against the acceptance of facial recognition technology worldwide in the near future? We have some good and bad news for you about this facial technology that is about to change the way we see humans with facial recognition sunglasses soon to hit Chinese markets.

China, before any other nation in the world is at the forefront of this technological advancement. The rapid growth of biometric scanning has led to a slew of commercial applications being designed for use in gyms, restaurants, schools and even public toilets. It compliments CCTV surveillance cameras in translating facial memory into written data. The technology can measure the width between a person’s eyes, the distance from the lips to the nose making it possible to identify one face precisely among millions.

For shopping

Facial recognition technology has been widely adopted by the global beauty industry, as a way of improving in-store customer engagement by offering an entertaining and personalized shopping experience. In China, Tencent incorporates this technology into the payment process, which now lets consumers pay without showing cash, card or even their mobile phon

International fashion brands like Jack & Jones and Vero Moda are among the first to introduce it into stores. E-tailer giant like Alibaba teamed up with the fast-food chain KFC in the city of Hangzhou to debut their ‘Smile to pay’ service. A 3-D camera scans the person’s face once recognised and the phone number verification option is added for security purposes (similar to google asking you to verify your logins). Alibaba launched its humanless store where customers after selecting their desired products, simply exit the store via passages equipped with facial recognition scanners. Once their faces are confirmed each patron is then charged automatically for their purchases via their phone’s Alipay app.

Credit card payments

Electronic payments that involve fingerprint scans, facial recognition and an iris scan are making inroads in the banking system thereby decreasing the rates of hacking.

Law & Order maintenance

“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.

You will be surprised to know that 16 areas in China are using facial recognition technology that can scan the country’s entire population in one second. The system has been used to arrest 2,000 people in the last two years further aiding the police to track movements, friends of the accused, hangout spots and even try to predict crime increasing efficiencies and improving the law & order of the country. Currently, about 170 million surveillance cameras are already put to the test and by 2020, the country aims to increase it to 570 million cameras.


Facial recognition technology has made it to schools in China. The system detects distractions to ensure complete attendance in class. Another school in U.K installed facial recognition systems for teachers in schools to monitor their attendance and whereabouts.


The Shenzhen traffic police have set up artificial intelligence-powered CCTV cameras to scan the faces of those who jaywalk at major intersections and display their identities on large LED screens for all to see. Authorities claim they have been able to tackle the problem with the efficiency of the system

Is it invading personal privacy?

As opposed to the Chinese who are comparatively relaxed to this advancement, 67% of the U.S citizens and 75% of U.K citizens repelled the technology for the fact that it was simply creepy to invade somebody’s privacy. Another major concern about the advanced biometric system is the mass misuse via data acquisition of the citizens which is deemed as ‘unfair’ for false acquisitions under the mask of surveillance. China however prioritizes technological convenience over privacy as the nation’s bid for progress, sending us into the black mirror dimension that we’ve already had a taste of!



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