Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Radii, a new media platform covering culture, innovation, and life in today’s China.
Today in creepy future news: as if visiting police stations in China wasn’t already intense enough, one such station in Wuhan is planning to create the world’s first AI-enhanced cop shop. Financial paper Caijing Neican reports (link in Chinese):
Police stations are crucial state organs of power. Public security enforcement is the most important social service provided by the government. But today, they are also changing and advancing with the times! The light of artificial intelligence has begun to shine on this area.
Eureka! How will this brave new world of Artificially Intelligent policing work exactly?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it will involve a whole lot of facial scanning, which is quickly becoming a favorite new tool for police stations around China. This Wuhan station will partner with Tencent to build the facial recognition tech, out of a presumably mutual eagerness to amass a large database of facial scans connected to photo IDs.
The actual functionality of the proposed AI station looks to be mostly related to traffic bureaucracy. Check out this simulated driving test, for example:
Very Tron! The Caijing Neican writeup continues:
No need for ID cards or photos, no need to run around filling out forms or certificates, no need to prove “I am me” — the facial scan is enough.
Clearly, they’re leaning pretty heavily on a “the DMV totally sucks, right?” argument to sell the concept. This future unmanned police station “will soon be put into use” in Wuhan, the article says, and once it’s up and running will be open 24/7 for ultimate policing convenience. You should have plenty of time to re-watch Minority Report in the meantime.