New Technologies

China experiments with headbands

China experiments with headbands

The control system based on the intensive use of artificial intelligence and the latest technologies that China is experiencing in various regions and social sectors of the country seems to have entered the classrooms of several schools, which have begun to use brain diadems to control and Evaluate student attention.

A series of photos that became a viral phenomenon in Weibo, the main platform of the local internet, have made it possible to know the presence of these gadgets that measure the impulses of the brain and that are already used in several school sites in Zhejiang Province, located in the south of the Asian state, including the Jiangnan Experimental College of Hangzhou City.

The images showed how the students carried one of those devices called "Focus" designed by Brainco Inc, a firm sponsored by Harvard University in the US.

According to the publicity of the company, this headband is linked to a computer program that detects and quantifies the levels of attention of the students. "It is the first portal in classrooms around the world that allows teachers to assess the effectiveness of teaching in real time and make appropriate adjustments," says the firm.

Teachers are able to perceive which children are not paying attention based on the color that the headband exhibits following the pattern of traffic lights.

At the end of each class, the website gives a classification of the students with the highest score.

 Brainco Inc reported two years ago that it was preparing to distribute more than 20,000 headbands for the Chinese market. The company explained that schools in China suffer from "low efficiency during classroom studies" and that the Focus system aims to "help Chinese teachers optimize their teaching methodology and better engage students."

Although the parents of the schools involved in this unique experiment do not seem to have encountered any problem in allowing the use of headbands, the news generated more than a sarcastic comment among Chinese Internet users before official censorship suppressed snapshots of the net.

"It doesn't seem different to any scene in a horror movie," said one of the citizens after looking at the photographs.

Another was more ironic. "I suggest that an electric shock system be added, which allows students who are sleeping in class to wake up," he said.

The Weibo account of The Onion Sport, which aims to emulate the American satirical publication, also inclined to comment the news in a scathing tone and announced that even the national football team of China has been endowed with this instrument, if any middle of bracelets placed on the ankle that throw electric shocks if the player does not move for more than 5 seconds.

The use of brain diadems is only one more step in a systematic process of control of the teaching institutions of the Asian nation, where, for example, the use of facial recognition to identify students begins to become a routine.

Last year the People's Daily reported on another Hangzhou school where facial recognition intermingled with an artificial intelligence program that allows children to interpret their gestures and guess if they are attentive to class or thinking about shrews. In the latter case, the system sends a notification to the teacher.

Each classroom was monitored by three cameras equipped with that technology.

Those responsible for the educational facilities argued that the entire plan is part of a test for the introduction of an "intelligent behavior management system in the classroom".

One of the students cited by Sina News, a local publication, acknowledged that their behavior had changed after the introduction of the cameras.

"Sometimes, in some classes that I didn't like very much, I was a bit lazy and did things like napping on the desk or leafing through the book. But since the cameras are there, it's as if we had a pair of mysterious eyes that They constantly watch me and I dare not let my mind wander, "he said.

The peculiar capitalist system that is applied in the Asian country, where the state promotes with activity of tax exemptions, subsidies or contracts the activity of certain private business sectors, has led to a huge expansion of the so-called "cybersecurity" industry dedicated to combining the development of the latest technologies with applications that allow strengthening population control.

According to a report released by a research institute under the Chinese Ministry of Technology on Wednesday, the "cybersecurity" industry is expected to increase its revenues by 23% this year from the previous one to reach 8,000 million euros.

The Chinese Academy of Information and Communication Technology said there are already about 3,000 companies working in this sector, an increase of 8% compared to 2017.

Beijing intends to apply next year a social credit system throughout the country, which would rate citizens following a similar scale of points to the one used in Spain for the driving license.

The authorities now intend to extend this project to companies, which would also have to undergo this rigorous control.

A report released in August by the European Union Chamber of Commerce warned that if firms obtain a bad rating they could face problems when it comes to overcoming customs controls, making financial transactions or seeing how their legal representatives have difficulty acquiring property. .

"A high score can mean less taxes, better credit conditions, easier access to markets and more opportunities to get public contracts. A low score means the opposite and could even lead to blacklists. It can mean life or death to the individual companies, "read the aforementioned analysis.

The data that will allow this business scoring scale to be compiled will be collected from the information provided by the companies, the inspections of officials but also from surveillance through cameras and new technologies.

Digital Newspaper El Mundo

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