Chilling Vision of the Future: Chinese AI Cam Tracks Students’ Concentration Levels in Class


School Students in China Monitored by AI Cameras

In China, school students are reportedly working under the watchful eye of artificial intelligence (AI) cameras that monitor their every move – including their concentration. With footage claiming to show how the high-tech surveillance systems track students’ behaviour and movements, snooping spy cams are supposedly installed in classrooms to monitor students’ attentiveness.

The AI cameras are allegedly designed to create an ever-evolving log of a child’s behaviour, monitoring their every movement in hopes of nipping distractions in the bud. However, this has raised concerns about China’s increasingly Big Brother-like surveillance state, scaring kids into compliance in the classroom.

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One journalist, Jennifer Zeng, attempted to break down the intricate components of the AI cameras and shared a clip on Twitter. The clip shows how the system displays data about each person and categorises them into groups with coloured banners. Each colour is believed to represent different movements, while the numbers flashing above the students’ heads keep changing to indicate the degree of the movements.

Although some argue that the data collected is merely boring analytics, collected by online platforms people use every day, others have raised concerns about privacy issues and the ethical implications of using such surveillance technology in classrooms. This is especially concerning when children are targeted and monitored in such a manner.

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It is not a new trend in China to use technology for monitoring student behaviour. A similar concept was rolled out in 2019 in which primary school kids wore brainwave-detecting headgear, monitoring attention spans and sharing the data with teachers and parents. Although some teachers reported improved concentration and real-time student engagement feedback, the uncomfortable headgear was quickly scrapped after privacy concerns were raised.

While AI technology is expected to become a major part of classrooms and education in the future, the potential for its misuse is high. Therefore, it is important to keep a close eye on how surveillance technology is being used and its potential impact on privacy as well as social and emotional well-being.

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