Tech

Tech

A mystery man in a helmet beats facial recognition in China
From airports to signing mobile phone contracts, facial recognition technology is becoming an increasingly visible part of life worldwide, and one man’s strange actions have many in China wondering, how much is too much?  Ostensibly looking for a new place to live, a man decided to wear a motorcycle helmet when he was checking out a property exhibition. The goal of the helmet? He wanted to avoid detection from facial recognition surveillance cameras.   The video has gone viral as more people start to worry about the pervasiveness of facial recognition cameras and their potential consequences for personal privacy.    A real estate agent in Jinan, a city in northeastern China, posted the video
Fed up with facial recognition technology? Here is how to outsmart it
Face masks can help protect against the coronavirus, but they may not be enough to hide from increasingly prevalent and powerful facial recognition technology. The global pandemic has seen governments deploy monitoring systems to help detect coronavirus, enforce quarantines and monitor social distancing. One controversial new tool has been facial recognition technology, with some companies advertising that masks are no barrier to their surveillance. It has also been used by police to keep an eye on protest movements worldwide. But some have sought to subvert this technology, armed with anti-surveillance masks, make-up, clothing and even lasers. Mark Andrejevic, an expert in surveillance and
Can the HomePod mini handle Chinese accents?
The Apple HomePod mini is marketed as having Chinese language recognition ability that sets it apart from other smart speakers. The device is said to be able to support Mandarin and Cantonese dialects. So we put the HomePod mini to the test to see if Siri can understand different Chinese accents as well as dialects.
A university wants to bring China's elderly into the digital future
People are increasingly worried that old people are being left behind in China as the nation hurtles ahead and digitizes nearly all aspects of its economy and society. Ma Chunxia, a 67-year-old resident of Nanjing in the eastern province of Jiangsu, had adapted once and had successfully gotten onto WeChat to keep in touch with her friends. But she has no idea how to use video chat, pay for goods online or make appointments at the hospital, all tasks that have gotten more difficult offline as they become streamlined online.  So, Ma decided to fix the problem. She has been taking smartphone courses at the Drum Tower Open University for the past three weeks. The college is specifically designed
TikTok admits that it had censored content critical of China
A TikTok executive in the UK walked back an admission from last Thursday that the company had censored content, including videos that touched on China’s controversial Uygur policies in its far-western region of Xinjiang.  During a meeting with the UK parliament last week, Elizabeth Kanter, TikTok’s director of government relations and public policy in the UK, told the governing body, “In the early days of TikTok, there were some policies in place that took what we call blunt instruments to the way which content was censored.”  “There were some incidents where content was not allowed on the platform, specifically with regard to the Uygur situation,” Kanter added.  She said that the company ha
Halloween proves scary for fans of traditional Chinese festivals
Like their peers in the West, many children on the mainland had an enjoyable weekend as they wore colorful and cute costumes and went trick-and-treating to celebrate Halloween. But a father in Sichuan province in southwestern China said he was concerned that western celebrations are increasingly diluting traditional festivals in the ancient civilization. The comments reignited a debate about if it was acceptable to celebrate Western festivities in China. In a video that went viral on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Monday, a man scolded a staff member at an after-school training organization in Mianyang city for celebrating Halloween, saying this was “ruining the positive energy [of the count
What 5G means for the world, and for you
As the latest advance in mobile communications, 5G has been promised as the future of technology.  That development is expected to rev up digitization across traditional industries and spur major growth in the coming decade.  Initial commercial 5G mobile services were rolled out last year in South Korea, the United States, Australia, Britain, Switzerland, Spain and Monaco.  The roll-out of 5G mobile network services across China, with the world’s biggest internet user population and largest smartphone market, is already forecast to spur new growth in the country’s information technology industry by $491 billion in the five years leading up to 2024. While most people see 5G as a technical u
Tesla’s ‘made in China’ cars are heading to Europe
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 7,000: The number of cars Tesla is shipping to Europe from China. Electric car maker Tesla is shipping its Chinese-made vehicles to Europe for the first time, signaling the US company’s intention to use China to fulfill global demand for them. It held a ceremony at its Shanghai factory on Monday to mark the first shipment of about 7,000 Model 3 sedans from the Chinese city to ten European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, Chinese news outlet The Paper has reported. Tesla’s use of its Chinese facilities for export further bolsters the country’s position as the wo
Decoding the censorship apparatus used by WeChat
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Information is increasingly created, shared and consumed on a handful of social media platforms, a trend that has placed greater scrutiny on the owners and executives behind these tech behemoths, at least in the United States. As they have become more powerful globally, social media giants are trying to walk the tightrope by avoiding perceptions of censorship while corralling the spread of misinformation. In China, however, content censorship is part of the game and is widely accepted as a cost of doing business. WeChat, an app used ubiquitously throughou
China takes one more step toward digital national currency
People in China spent $1.3 million in over 62,000 transactions during a week-long trial of the country’s most extensive test of its sovereign digital currency. The currency, managed by the Chinese central bank, could potentially facilitate transactions and promote the international use of the Chinese yuan. It will also give officials more power to track the flow of money in the world’s second-largest economy. The southern tech hub of Shenzhen, where the test took place, said 47,573 people selected by lottery received a $30 cash gift, known as a red packet, in the digital currency. A total of 1.9 million residents applied to take part in the $1.49 million giveaway. People spent the money at 3