China cracks down on jaywalkers with AI, facial recognition, automated fines
As we pointed out earlier this week, China’s lack of data protection laws and its determination to overtake the US as the world-leader in AI technology poses a serious threat to U.S. technological hegemony. As Russian President Vladimir Putin once said, whoever dominates the AI race could one day rule the world.
Well, another advantage that China has in its AI push is its reputation for strict surveillance and law enforcement – which provides for plenty of use-cases where China can test its nascent technology. Case in point: Police in Shenzhen are using AI and facial recognition software to install “smart” traffic cameras that can identify and fine Chinese citizens who jaywalk – a crime that is the subject of strict enforcement in China, per the South China Morning Post.
Intellifusion, a Shenzhen-based AI firm that provides the technology is now in talks with local mobile phone carriers and social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo to develop a system where offenders will receive personal text messages shortly after a violation has occurred, according to Wang Jun, the company’s director of marketing solutions.
“Jaywalking has always been an issue in China and can hardly be resolved just by imposing fines or taking photos of the offenders. But a combination of technology and psychology… can greatly reduce instances of jaywalking and will prevent repeat offences,” Wang said.
Shenzhen traffic police began displaying photos of jaywalkers on large LED screens at major intersections starting in April 2017. Meanwhile, police stationed at the Zhengzhou East high-speed rail station in Henan province have been equipped with smart glasses with facial recognition software that can identify wanted criminals.
For the current system installed in Shenzhen, Intellifusion installed cameras with 7 million pixels of resolution to capture photos of pedestrians crossing the road against traffic lights. Facial recognition technology identifies the individual from a database and displays a photo of the jaywalking offence, the family name of the offender and part of their government identification number on large LED screens above the pavement.
Nearly 14,000 jaywalkers have been cited since. Of course, Shenzhen isn’t even the most advanced Chinese city in terms of its use of AI for law-enforcement purposes. In Beijing, police are using the world’s first surround-body camera with built in facial recognition technology to hold scofflaws accountable.