The Passionate Eye

'With artificial intelligence, we have nowhere to hide. Don't you think it's horrifying?'

Chongqing, China has 300,000 CCTV cameras are part of a massive national facial recognition system. Investigative journalist Liu Hu explains what it's like to live in a place where the government knows your every move.

Chongqing, China has 300,000 CCTV cameras. Liu Hu explains what it's like to live under surveillance.

Life with 300,000 surveillance cameras in Chongqing, China: Are You Scared Yet, Human?

10 months ago
Duration 1:17
Journalist Liu Hu explains what it's like to live in a city with a huge surveillance system and facial recognition. "With artificial intelligence we have nowhere to hide."

There are almost 800 million CCTV cameras in the world. More than half of them are in China.

In the city of Chongqing, 300,000 cameras are part of a massive national facial recognition system. 

"Facial recognition is an extraordinarily powerful tool, in some ways, to do good things," says Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, in the documentary Are You Scared Yet, Human?

"But if you want to surveil everyone on a street, if you want to see everyone who shows up at a demonstration, you can put [artificial intelligence] to work. And we're seeing that in certain parts of the world."

Liu Hu is an investigative journalist in Chongqing. "Once you leave home and step in to the lift, you're captured by a camera," he says in the documentary. "There are cameras everywhere."

"For instance, when I leave home to go somewhere, I call a taxi. The taxi company uploads the data to the Government.  The Government knows my whereabouts."

"I may then go to a café to meet a few friends. The authorities know my location through the camera in the café."

"There have been occasions where I have met some friends and soon after, someone from the Government contacted me to say, 'you have met so and so.' They warned me, 'don't see that person, don't do this or that.'" 

"With artificial intelligence we have nowhere to hide. Don't you think it's horrifying?"

Watch Are You Scared Yet, Human? on The Passionate Eye. 



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