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Want to go to work? Then you’ll need to have a smile thanks to new smile detecting technology from Canon Information Technologies, a Chinese branch of Japanese tech giant Canon. The Chinese tech company is bringing its “happiness monitoring” system to businesses as workers transition back to the workplace.
Dubbed as a tool to help managers, the smile detection system combines artificial intelligence with camera technology. Each smart camera scans a person’s face and determines how happy they are. If they meet the minimum criteria for happiness, they can enter a room or book a meeting.
Introduced earlier to little fanfare, Chinese companies rolled out the facial detection technology alongside other management tools. Several years later and the technology is becoming commonplace in China, says the Financial Times in a previous article.
Canon supposedly designed the facial recognition technology to bring some cheer into the post-pandemic workplace for those returning to their offices. “Mostly, people are just too shy to smile, but once they get used to smiles in the office, they just keep their smiles without the system, which created a positive and lively atmosphere,” said a Canon Information Technologies spokesperson to FT.
Not every employee is on board with the idea, though. One employee in China grumbled on social media that “the companies are not only manipulating our time but also our emotions.”
China is known for monitoring its citizens, both in public and in the workplace. Employers monitor computer usage as well as lunch breaks to make sure workers are not slacking off. Some businesses go so far as to track their employees’ movements outside of work using apps on their mobile phones.