Shenzhen may well be the most fascinating city in the world. It makes the majority of our electronics. It clones the best technology Silicon Valley has to offer with ease. And, lately, Shenzhen buzzes with new ideas and an unrivaled energy that ensure it will play a major role in shaping our collective futures.
In something straight out of science fiction, the high tech city of Shenzhen, a local subway operator is testing facial recognition subway access, powered by a 5G network.
The trial is limited to a single station thus far, and it’s not immediately clear how this will work for twins or lookalikes. People entering the station can scan their faces on the screen where they would normally have tapped their phones or subway cards. Their fare then gets automatically deducted from their linked accounts. They will need to have registered their facial data beforehand and linked a payment method to their subway account.
In part three of the documentary series Hello World Shenzhen [Part 1 | Part 2], Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance heads out into a city where you can’t use cash or credit cards, only your smartphone, where AI facial-recognition software instantly spots and tickets jaywalkers, and where at least one factory barely needs people.
This is the society that China’s government and leading tech companies are racing to make a reality, with little time to question which advancements are net positives for the rest of us.
Bloomberg takes a closer look at “the Silicon Valley of China,” Shenzhen, in this interesting video. It’s hard to believe that just 40 years ago, it was a sleepy fishing village near the Hong Kong border.