China’s New 500MP ‘Super Camera’ Can Identify a Face Among Tens of Thousands

Scientists at the Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics in China have developed a 500MP cloud-connected ‘super camera’ that can reportedly pick out facial details of an individual person among thousands in a crowded stadium. The new tech is raising serious concerns about privacy and government monitoring.

According to a report by ABC News, the camera was revealed at China’s International Industry Fair by Xiaoyang Zeng, one of the scientists who worked on the new system. The camera combines its 500MP resolution with a connection to the cloud and AI-powered, real-time facial recognition technology, making it possible to identify every individual in an ultra-wide image of a crowded stadium. As if that’s not enough, the camera can reportedly record video at the same resolution.

The applications were put aptly enough by the China News Service, who writes that the “cloud-camera system [is] able to capture thousands of faces at a stadium in perfect detail and generate their facial data for the cloud while locating a particular target in an instant.’

According to the CNS report, the technology is being praised by “most Chinese experts” for its potential “military, national defense, and public security applications,” although “some” have expressed concerns around privacy.

The only question that remains is just how close to “fully operational” this system really is. Reports claim that the camera can “locate a particular target in an instant,” but processing 500MP images is a data-heavy task that could take hours, especially if its all being done wirelessly—to say nothing of video footage. Not that this is exceedingly comforting. Ultra-high resolution cameras are nothing new… with the recent advancements in AI and facial recognition, it seems that all that stands between us and Minority Report levels of sci-fi personal monitoring is faster data centers.