High school students in one Chinese school may want to think twice before dozing off in class. Artificially intelligent cameras with facial recognition tools will be watching. The Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School has installed a “smart classroom behaviour management system,” which captures the students’ expressions and movements, analysing them with big data to make sure that they’re paying attention, local media reported.
The ‘Big Brother’ strategy underscores how AI and facial recognition tools are increasingly being used in China for a host of tasks, from verifying payments and catching criminals to checking the audience at big entertainment events and customers at fast-food joints.
The ubiquitous cameras — part of daily life in most big Chinese cities — are part of an array of surveillance technologies that have raised worries about privacy.
“The system only collects students’ facial expressions and behaviour information,” the school’s vice principal, Zhang Guanqun, said. “It can improve interactions between the teachers and students.” The system will be able to tell if students are reading or listening — or napping at their desks. It can detect expressions like happiness, repulsion, fear, anger and befuddlement. Students will get a real-time attentiveness score, which will be then shown to their teacher on a screen, media said. The system is devised by Hikvision Digital Technology, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of security cameras and which is developing its own AI technology.