I'm in Wuzhen, one of the oldest tourist sites in China with some of the newest technology. In the peak season, as many as 40,000 tourists come to visit each day. This causes big queues at the ticket gates, where staff check visitors' passes. The tourism office has been trying out facial recognition gates developed by the tech company Baidu instead. I'm trying it out today.
When I buy a ticket, I'm registered into the database and get a picture taken. The system now knows I'm allowed to enter. Then I walk up to the gate. The camera recognises my face instantly and opens the gate. It happens in a split second and has cut queues and staff time.
What's special is that, until recently, computers have not been great at recognising faces. They were very sensitive to changes in, say, our expression or the angle we look at the camera and needed conditions to be perfect. But a new generation of artificial intelligence technology has resulted in software that is more flexible and has a wider range of applications.
Many governments, including the US and China, are already using facial recognition technology to identify people in surveillance footage. Facial recognition technology will make life easier for many, but it raises the question of whether citizens will be able to safeguard their privacy against companies and businesses using it. I'm Yuan Yang, reporting in Wuzhen for the Financial Times.