AI company that helped build China’s surveillance state is being used in Las Vegas schools
Chris White on August 14, 2020
An artificial intelligence company that helped build China’s surveillance network is installing technology inside a private Las Vegas school to measure student’s body temperatures as they head back to school amid a pandemic, the company said in a press release.
U.S.-based AI company Remark Holdings announced a deal Monday with the private pre-K-12 school to install thermal kits designed to test body temperatures for signs that incoming students have contracted coronavirus, according to a press statement from Remark. The system scans up to 120 people a minute and alerts personnel to individuals that could have higher than normal temperatures.
“Things are strange enough. Kids are going to be coming to school with masks. They’re going to be meeting friends with masks,” Jeremy Gregersen, the head of school at Meadows, told Vox blog Recode on Friday. “What we want is for kids to feel welcome and to normalize their arrival at school as early as possible.”
Schools are looking for ways to reopen after city and state officials imposed strict lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, before spreading to the U.S. where it has reportedly killed over 160,00 people, according to data from John Hopkins University.
Remark, which also sells facial recognition systems, provided similar thermal scanning systems to more than 100 schools in China, Recode reported.
One of the company’s subsidiaries in China built technology for police in China’s fifth-largest city, Hangzhou, that analyzes surveillance video to identify motorcycles illegally driving on some streets, Wired reported in 2018. Remark is also helping a Chinese supermarket group identify frequent shoppers through facial recognition software.
“They really understand and accept what AI is, and they’re ready to go,” Remark CEO Shing Tao said regarding China in a 2018 Wired report.
Police in China are using facial recognition technology to monitor the Uighur, the country’s Muslim minority population, The New York Times reported in 2019.
Hangzhou and Wenzhou are two Chinese cities using AI technology for law enforcement, according to the NYT. Police in the central Chinese city of Sanmenxia ran a system over the course of a month that year that screened whether residents were Uighurs 500,000 times.
Remark signed a deal with Charoen Pokphand Group to implement facial recognition technology in 10,000 7-Eleven stores across Thailand for identifying the faces of loyal customers and shoplifters, Wired reported, citing a statement from a CP Group executive.
The technology could potentially measure the emotions of customers as well, Business Insider noted in a 2018 report.
U.S. cities have used Chinese-affiliated technology in the past to enforce social distancing mandates. Elizabeth, New Jersey, deployed drones from Chinese-based company DJI in April to warn citizens who walked outdoors not to get too close in physical proximity to other people, The Hill reported.
The drones blared sirens and said, “Stop gathering, disperse and go home.”
Neither the Meadows School or Remark has responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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