December, 2017

Hangzhou, China Integrates AI With City’s Infrastructure

In October 2016, Hangzhou, China installed an AI system that operates with the city’s infrastructure to monitor and react to traffic, crime, and residents’ social media. The city partnered with Alibaba and Foxconn, and, according to an AI manager at Alibaba, because people in China “have less concern with privacy,” the AI program – called “City Brain” – could more quickly create and learn from a database of traffic patterns, crime reports, and residents’ purchases, movements, and interactions.

The program has proven successful enough that there are plans to expand it to other cities. The results include less traffic congestion, less illegal parking, faster response to traffic accidents, and efficient tracking of criminal suspects throughout the city.

Sources:  Lauren Tousignant, “This artificial intelligence may start tracking you soon,”, October 25, 2017:
“Hangzhou to build ‘City Brain’ with Alibaba and Foxconn,” People’s Daily online, October 13, 2016:
Timothy Revell, “A smart city in China tracks every citizen and yours could too,”, October 24, 2017:

Homeland Security Wants New Facial Recognition Software For Border Crossings

DHS wants facial recognition software that would allow agents at land-based ports of entry to compare the faces of those foreign nationals who arrive into and leave the U.S. by car. The technology would allow for facial comparisons – without having to stop or slow the car – even if the subjects wore sunglasses or were looking in a different direction.

According to a recent report, “DHS also wants a solution that would anonymize the data if it happens to scan the face of a citizen exiting the country.” Persons over the age of 79 and those under the age of 14, as well as diplomats, are excluded from a requirement that DHS use biometrics to scan foreign nationals.

Sources: Mohanah Ravindranath, “DHS Wants Tech to Scan Your Face as You Drive to Mexico,”, November 1, 2017:

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor