China’s latest secret weapon when it comes to citizen privacy is now recognition software. It’s been developed by artificial intelligence company Watrix, with the goal of identifying Chinese citizens, even without recognizing their faces.
According to Watrix, it’s system can identify a person from as far was 165 feet away, even if their back is facing the camera, or if their face is turned in the opposite direction. It also doesn’t require any special type of camera. It can analyze any surveillance footage that already exists to a person, with an impressive accuracy rate of 94 percent.
The system can’t be fooled by any kind of limping or hunching over since all of the features of the body are being analyzed. The only issue with the software at the moment is that it doesn’t work in real time, requiring approximately 10 minutes to analyze an hour’s worth of footage. In that time, it is able to extract a person’s silhouette, and then creates a model of their gait.
This technology could be very useful on a small scale, for example a company could create a database with it’s workers gaits in order to ensure that outsiders do not enter prohibited areas. But for China to use this on a larger, nationwide scale is much harder to conceptualize.
When it comes to facial recognition, most citizens are already in government databases, so it’s rather simple to implement. But would this mean that every citizen’s gait would need to be entered into a database? Perhaps they could arrest someone for a crime and then compare their walk to that caught on camera?
Either way, China is somehow making use of this technology, so before careful where you walk.