ired of the terrible inconvenience of swiping into the subway with your card or phone? Well, you can now look forward to a brave new world where all you’ll need to enter the metro is your face.
Chinese state media has reported that Beijing Metro officials are mulling over the possibilities of allowing passengers to enter the city’s subway network by scanning either their faces or their hands. At this point, the proposal is still very much in the planning stage and it’s unclear how exactly the system would work, but it further portends a Black Mirror-esque future in China where privacy is continually sacrificed for the sake of convenience.
Of course, China already has quite a number of sophisticated facial recognition cams, using them to catch criminals at Jacky Cheung concerts and to track down BBC reporters. A Huawei rep called the tech underlying this proposed system “mature,” while subway authorities said that they see it as a way to potentially improve efficiency and reduce costs on the world’s busiest metro network — with 3.78 billion trips delivered last year.
In fact, it turns out that Shanghai’s own metro system has already experimented with such “bio-recognition technology.” According to China Daily, back in March, select special groups (like disabled soldiers, retired cadres, and wounded police officers) were given the opportunity to swipe their way into the subway via their palms at certain gates on the new (driverless) Pujiang Line in southern Shanghai.
These new technologies are being pondered not long after subway systems across China started giving passengers the chance to cast away their metro cards and scan in via mobile phone app instead. Jeez guys, at least give us a chance to catch our breath.
Meanwhile, face-recognition subway rides are sure to be yet another advancement that raises more concerns from critics about China’s ever-expanding surveillance state. But hey, what’s the loss of a little more personal privacy compared with the benefits of eliminating the hassle of carrying around a metro card. Right? …right?
[Images via China Daily]