Turning the world upside down, Beijing headquartered Canon China, a 100% owned foreign capital investment company that was renamed Canon Information Technology, that specializes in optical, imaging, and industrial products has launched a unique AI-enabled ‘smile recognition’ technology through which AI cameras in the offices of its Chinese subsidiary Canon Information Technology only lets smiling workers enter rooms or book meetings.
The company said that the objective behind the new technology was to ensure that every employee is 100% happy all the time. The new AI-backed feature was highlighted in a report in The Financial Times on how Chinese companies are surveilling their employees to an unsettling degree with the help of AI and algorithms.
Chinese firms are monitoring which programs employees use on their computers to gauge their productivity; using CCTV cameras to measure how long they take on their lunch break, and even tracking their movements outside the office using mobile apps.
Canon Information Technology announced its ‘smile recognition’ cameras last year as part of a suite of workplace management tools, but the technology doesn’t seem to have gotten much attention.
According to reports, AI-enabled smile recognition cameras are in many ways the least dangerous type of surveillance technology. They have the benefit of being obvious. “Other systems of control are much more subtle, and probably ‘coming to an office near you sometime soon,” the report said.