Google is deepening its push into artificial intelligence (AI) by opening a research centre in China, even though its search services remain blocked in the country. Google said the facility would be the first its kind in Asia and would aim to employ local talent. Silicon Valley is focusing heavily on the future applications for AI. China has also indicated strong support for AI development and for catching up with the US. Research into artificial intelligence has the potential to improve a range of technologies, from self-driving cars and automated factories to translation products and facial recognition software.
Yitu Technology, based in Shanghai, China has developed and employed an artificial intelligence (A.I.) algorithm called Dragonfly Eye that uses facial recognition technology capable of identifying 2 billion people in seconds. Zhu Long, CEO of Yitu Technologies, told the South China Morning Post, "Our machines can very easily recognise you among at least 2 billion people in a matter of seconds, which would have been unbelievable just three years ago." Dragonfly Eye is presently used by 150 municipal public security systems and 20 provincial public security departments across the country of China. Dragonfly Eye was initially employed on the Shanghai Metro in Shanghai, China, during January of this year. Local police authorities credit Dragonfly Eye with aiding in the arrest of 576 suspects on the Shanghai Metro in the first three months of using the facial recognition system.
The AI algorithm, the name of which can be translated as either Dragon Eye or Dragonfly Eye, was developed by Shanghai-based tech firm Yitu. It works off of China's national database, which consists of all 1.3 billion residents of the Asian nation as well as 500 million more people who have entered the country at some point. Dragon Eye interfaces with the database to detect the faces of individuals. Yitu chief executive and co-founder Zhu Long told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that the purpose of the algorithm is to fight crime and make the world a safer place. "Let's say that we live in Shanghai, a city of 24 million people.
Zhu Long, co-founder and CEO of Yitu Technology, has his identity checked at the company's headquarters in the Hongqiao business district in Shanghai. "Our machines can very easily recognise you among at least 2 billion people in a matter of seconds," says chief executive and Yitu co-founder Zhu Long, "which would have been unbelievable just three years ago." Its platform is also in service with more than 20 provincial public security departments, and is used as part of more than 150 municipal public security systems across the country, and Dragonfly Eye has already proved its worth. On its very first day of operation on the Shanghai Metro, in January, the system identified a wanted man when he entered a station. After matching his face against the database, Dragonfly Eye sent his photo to a policeman, who made an arrest.
A Shanghai company has claimed to have developed an AI that can recognize a face among at least two billion people in a matter of seconds. Yitu's AI algorithm Dragon Eye not only recognizes faces but with a network of connected cameras can plot the movement of their owners. "Our machines can very easily recognize you among at least two billion people in a matter of seconds," says chief executive and Yitu co-founder Zhu Long, "which would have been unbelievable just three years ago." As of now, the Dragon Eye platform has around 1.8 billion photographs to work with: those logged in China's national database and those who have ever entered through its borders. Talking to the South China Morning Post, Zhu said the objective of the algorithm is to make the world a much safer place by curbing crime.
The lifts rising to Yitu Technology's headquarters have no buttons. The pass cards of the staff and visitors stepping into the elevators that service floors 23 and 25 of a newly built sky scraper in Shanghai's Hongqiao business district are read automatically – no swipe required – and each passenger is deposited at their specified floor. The only way to beat the system and alight at a different floor is to wait for someone who does have access and jump out alongside them. Or, if this were a sci-fi thriller, you'd set off the fire alarms and take the stairs while everyone else was evacuating. But even in that scenario you'd be caught: Yitu's cameras record everyone coming into the building and tracks them inside.
A popular Chinese messaging app had to pull down two chatbots, not because they turned into racist and sexist bots like Microsoft's Tay and Zo did, but because they became unpatriotic. According to Financial Times, they began spewing out responses that could be interpreted as anti-China or anti-Communist Party. While these responses may seem like they can't hold a candle to Tay's racist and sexist tweets, they're the worst responses a chatbot could serve up in China. Tay, for instance, learned so much filth from Twitter that Microsoft had to pull it down after only 24 hours.
A recent ban affecting three of China's biggest online platforms aimed at "cleaning up the air in cyberspace" is just the latest government crackdown on user-generated content, and especially live streaming. This edict, issued by China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) in June, affects video on the social media platform Sina Weibo, as well as video platforms Ifeng and AcFun. In 2014, for example, one of China's biggest online video platforms LETV began removing its app that allowed TV users to access online video, reportedly due to SAPPRFT requirements. China's largest social media network, Sina Weibo, launched an app named Yi Zhibo in 2016 that allows live streaming of games, talent shows and news.
By keeping ISPs and websites under threat of closure, the government is able to leverage that additional labor force to help monitor a larger population than it would otherwise be able to. This past July, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the administration in charge of online censorship, issued new rules to websites and service providers that enabled the government to punish any outlet that publishes "directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media." And the Supreme Court, especially the Roberts Court, has been, on the main, a strong defender of free expression," Danielle Keats Citron, professor of law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, wrote to Engadget. "Context is crucial to many free-speech questions like whether a threat amounts to a true threat and whether a person is a limited-purpose public figure," professor Keats Citron told Engadget.
According to a 2016 report from internet liberty watchdog, Freedom House, two-thirds of all internet users reside in countries where criticism of the ruling administration is censored -- 27 percent of them live in nations where posting, sharing or supporting unpopular opinions on social media can get you arrested. This past July, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the administration in charge of online censorship, issued new rules to websites and service providers which enabled the government to punish any outlet that publishes "directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media." And the Supreme Court, especially the Roberts Court, has been, on the main, a strong defender of free expression," Danielle Keats Citron, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, wrote to Engadget. "Context is crucial to many free speech questions like whether a threat amounts to a true threat and whether a person is a limited purpose public figure," Professor Keats Citron told Engadget.