Tech

Tech

I took a self-driving robotaxi in China
From Batman to Transformers, self-driving cars have long captured the popular imagination. And China, where the pervasive use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies extends from sorting rubbish to traffic control, is a natural testing ground for companies jostling to make this sci-fi fantasy a reality. They are part of a global move towards autonomous vehicles, which are quickly becoming the world's first major AI revolution. The sector has drawn billions of dollars of investment over the past few years, with the global autonomous vehicles market projected to be worth $65.3 billion by 2027, according to a report by Market Research Future. Major US players such as Google, Tesla and Gene
I took a self-driving robotaxi in China
Signing a mobile contract in China? Get ready for a facial scan
China has introduced a new rule that requires people to have their faces scanned when signing up for mobile phone services, as experts and even state media raised concerns that there were insufficient measures in place to safeguard privacy rights. Before the introduction of the new requirement on Sunday, which had been announced in September by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, people registering for mobile phone services had to provide only a copy of their identity cards. The ministry said the new measure would help to stem the resale of sim cards and protect people from unknowingly signing up for phone services if their identities were stolen. Many online services and so
Signing a mobile contract in China? Get ready for a facial scan
China tests urban killer drones for export
A Chinese technology firm is testing a new attack drone specifically designed to help ground troops in street-level combat, in the hope that it can sell the unit abroad, reports say. Engineers recently completed a successful air-to-ground test firing exercise for the mini quadcopter named Tianyi, Modern Weaponry reported. The developer, Tianjin Zhongwei Aerospace Data System Technology, said the unmanned aerial vehicle had been designed to carry out both reconnaissance missions and close-range strikes against armored vehicles or individuals in an urban environment. “It is suitable for circumstances that include asymmetric combat, counterterrorism and special forces [operations] and street ba
China tests urban killer drones for export
US teenager lashes out at China’s Muslim detention camps on TikTok
A TikTok video showing a teenager bringing attention to China’s mass detentions of Muslim minorities while curling her eyelashes has gone viral on the Chinese-owned social platform.  “Hi guys. I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes,” the creator, who describes herself as a teenage Muslim girl in the US, said in the clip that resembles a beauty tip video.  “The first thing you need to do is to grab your lash curler, curl your lashes obviously, and you are going to put them down, and use your phone that you are using right now, to search about what’s happening in China, how they are getting concentration camps throwing innocent Muslims in there.” i always wondered how girls get the
US teenager lashes out at China’s Muslim detention camps on TikTok
Chinese residents grow nervous about facial data privacy
It took 20 minutes of arguing before the hotel in downtown Shenzhen, a tech hub in southern China, finally allowed Wang Qiyu to check in without taking a scan of his face. Wang, a software developer who returned to China two years ago after getting his doctorate in the US, said he felt harassed by the hotel.  “Airport, train stations, stores and hotels – almost every organization asks for facial data,” the 31-year-old said. “But no one tells me why they collect the data and how they protect it.” He is not alone: Chinese consumers, generally thought to be more accepting of trading privacy for security, are growing increasingly vocal about data privacy concerns as facial recognition becomes mo
Chinese residents grow nervous about facial data privacy
Chinese artificial intelligence hopes still rely on America
Engineer Kuang Kaiming was assigned to a team developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology for a Shanghai start-up. The company went with two leading open-source software libraries, Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s Pytorch. The decision to adopt US core technology over Chinese alternatives was telling of China’s weakness in basic AI infrastructure.  Despite the country’s success in producing commercially successful AI companies, the open-source coding repositories used to build the technology tend to be American.  Kuang’s company, whose AI product detects abnormalities in X-rays, is by no means alone.  Nearly all small- to medium-sized Chinese AI companies rely on the US-originated o
Chinese artificial intelligence hopes still rely on America
Will tourists in China wake up to mobile payments?
Last week, China’s main payment apps, Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Ant Financial’s Alipay, opened their mobile payment systems to a demographic that had previously been left out: international tourists.  In China, mobile payments are used to pay for almost everything from $0.25 steamed buns at a takeout joint to sending prisoners money, highlighting the huge gap that exists between this system and the payment habits of 140 million annual tourists from overseas, who may be more used to cash or credit cards. Inkstone is owned by Alibaba, whose affiliate Ant Financial operates Alipay.  But will providing access be enough to convert tourists to start scanning QR codes?  How does mobile payments work
Will tourists in China wake up to mobile payments?
Didi’s carpooling curfew now applies to men too
China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing applied its carpooling “curfew” to all users on Thursday after the company was widely criticized for closing the service to female passengers after 8pm.  Didi said on Wednesday it would relaunch the UberPool-like service, named Hitch, later this month after the rape and murder of two female passengers, which plunged the company into crisis.  Didi had said it would begin a trial run starting in November in seven cities with improved safety features. Men would be able to use the carpooling service from 5am to 11pm, while women can access it from 5am to 8pm.  The earlier hour for women prompted outrage on social media. Gender equality advocates had called
Didi’s carpooling curfew now applies to men too
How AI and human rights get tangled up in the US-China tech rivalry
When Trump administration officials announced on October 7 that they were banning some of China’s most feted artificial intelligence and surveillance companies from buying US technology, the move caught Chinese policymakers off guard. Back in May, the US Commerce Department cited national security concerns when it barred Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from buying US technology. In its latest move, the Trump administration banned eight companies, including China’s AI national champions SenseTime, Megvii and iFlyTek, and 20 police departments for their purported roles in the suppression of Uygur minorities in Xinjiang. It was the first time that human rights were cited as a reason fo
How AI and human rights get tangled up in the US-China tech rivalry
Didi’s carpooling service under attack for setting ‘curfew’ for women
China’s dominant ride-hailing app, Didi Chuxing, has come under attack for closing its carpooling service to female passengers after 8pm.  Over the past year, the ride-sharing giant has been criticized for failing to protect female riders. The company suspended its UberPool-like service Hitch in August 2018 after the rape and murder of two female passengers in separate incidents, which plunged Didi into crisis.  On Wednesday, Didi said it would relaunch Hitch in a trial run starting in November in seven cities with improved safety features. Men will be able to use the service from 5am to 11pm, while women can access it from 5am to 8pm.  Announcement of the trial run, however, prompted outra
Didi’s carpooling service under attack for setting ‘curfew’ for women