Los Angeles Times

At a Chinese school, Big Brother charts every smile or frown

HANGZHOU, China - At first, it just seemed cool.

When facial recognition cameras were installed at a century-old high school here in eastern China, students got in and out of campus, picked up lunch, borrowed books and even bought drinks from a vending machine just by peering into the cameras.

No more worrying about forgetting to carry your ID card.

But last March, the cameras appeared in some classrooms - and they did a lot more than just identify students and take attendance.

Using the latest artificial intelligence software, the devices tracked students' behavior and read their facial expressions, grouping each face into one of seven emotions: anger, fear, disgust, surprise, happiness, sadness and what was labeled as neutral.

Think of it as a little glimpse of the future.

While American schools, as well as students and

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