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    Bored kids, big brother is watching you
    Bored kids, big brother is watching you
    TECH

    Bored kids, big brother is watching you

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    by
    Louise Moon
    Louise Moon
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    Bored Chinese schoolkids are out of luck, thanks to the unstoppable rise of facial recognition tech.

    A school in eastern China has installed cameras in classrooms to monitor pupils’ facial expressions and attentiveness in class, an online news portal has reported.

    A series of photos published on the Sina News website on Wednesday show three cameras installed on top of the blackboard at the 11th middle school in Hangzhou, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.

    Cameras at the front of the class monitor students’ facial expressions.
    Cameras at the front of the class monitor students’ facial expressions. Photo: Sina

    The cameras, which the report described as “teaching assistants,” are part of the school’s “Smart Classroom Behavior Management System” intended to give teachers real-time information on their students.

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    The school said it could use the cameras to analyze pupils’ facial expressions to determine whether they were enjoying lessons, or paying attention.

    “Using this system, we can see which classmates are concentrating in class and whose mind is wandering,” the school’s head teacher, Ni Ziyuan, was quoted as saying.

    Group 5
    It’s like there’s a pair of mystery eyes constantly watching me, and I don’t dare let my mind wander
    -
    Student, 11th Hangzhou Middle School

    The system also measures levels of attendance by using a database of pupils’ faces and names to check who is in the classroom.

    The technology will also be used to keep an eye on the teachers and the school argued it could help improve their classroom technique.

    The camera is able to distinguish between a range of emotions.
    The camera is able to distinguish between a range of emotions. Photo: Sina

    “This kind of system is supervising both the students’ learning, and the teachers’ teaching,” deputy principal Zhang Guanchao, was quoted as saying.

    The technology appears to be having the desired effect.

    “Beforehand in some classes that I didn’t like much, sometimes I would be lazy and do things like take naps on the desk or flick through other textbooks,” a student was quoted as saying.

    “Since the school has introduced these cameras, it’s like there’s a pair of mystery eyes constantly watching me, and I don’t dare let my mind wander.”

    The unnamed student added he felt everyone’s concentration had improved, the report stated.

    Facial recognition is being used to police jaywalkers.
    Facial recognition is being used to police jaywalkers. Photo: China Foto Press

    China has been spearheading the use of cameras to monitor its population since 2015, when the Ministry of Public Security launched a project to build the world’s most powerful facial recognition system.

    Its goal was to identify any of the country’s citizens within three seconds, by matching someone’s face with their ID photo.

    So far the technology has been used to catch unlicensed drivers in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, jaywalkers in Shanghai and criminal suspects at a variety of public events ranging from beer festivals to pop concerts.

    LOUISE MOON
    LOUISE MOON
    Louise is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a reporter for the South China Morning Post.

    LOUISE MOON
    LOUISE MOON
    Louise is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a reporter for the South China Morning Post.

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