Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

China’s facial-recognition startups can probably pick you out of a crowd

January 25, 2018

Chinese facial-recognition companies are getting very, very good at what they do.

Locking 'em up: A police department in China went from capturing a handful of suspects a year with officers watching CCTV cameras to capturing 69 suspects in one month after deploying software made by the firm SenseTime.

Big data: Companies in China have access to a government trove of video surveillance footage that’s unmatched on the planet. Xu Li, CEO of SenseTime, told the Financial Times that his firm has processed 500 million faces and has a single client that needed 300 million faces verified.

But: China is leading the way in facial-recognition software and trying to become an AI powerhouse. But foreign governments won’t like the idea of their citizens’ data living on Chinese servers. Besides, American companies are hard at work on their own surveillance technology.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

What is AI?

Everyone thinks they know but no one can agree. And that’s a problem.

What are AI agents? 

The next big thing is AI tools that can do more complex tasks. Here’s how they will work.

How to use AI to plan your next vacation

AI tools can be useful for everything from booking flights to translating menus.

Why Google’s AI Overviews gets things wrong

Google’s new AI search feature is a mess. So why is it telling us to eat rocks and gluey pizza, and can it be fixed?

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.