SenseTime

The world's most valuable AI company is also the focus of a US blacklist.

Latest Stories

How Chinese hospitals and authorities are using AI to fight the coronavirus

February 28th

Sensetime has created the "largest face forgery detection dataset" ever to find deepfakes

February 5th

MIT is reviewing research relationship with SenseTime following US blacklist

October 16th

The US blacklists a swath of Chinese AI companies and government bureaus

October 9th

The Basics

SenseTime is interesting for many reasons:

SenseTime specializes in facial- and pattern-recognition in images, video and audio, and works closely with the Chinese government, as well as MIT, Qualcomm, Nvidia, and others.

Founded in 2014, Sensetime first received attention for their DeepID algorithm, which was the first facial recognition tool that recognized faces more accurately than the human eye.

SenseTime went on to be named one of China's five "national champions" of AI in 2018, alongside Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, and iFlyTek, which earmarks it for special treatment, government contracts and potentially longterm investment.

Since its founding, SenseTime has raised over $2.6 billion from Alibaba, Qualcomm, Softbank and others.

More recently, the company has been accused of helping Chinese authorities monitor and track Uighur muslims. Critics, inlcuding the US government, say that SenseTime's software is used in China's mass surveillance program in areas like Xinjiang, where authorities deploy a vast surveillance network to monitor and track citizens.

In October, the US put SenseTime on its Entity List, which prevents it from buying or using any technology or product that contains US-made components.

While Sensetime denies that its technology is being used to discriminate against citizens, it does have verified clients among China's police departments, which use its technology in security cameras to find and track suspects. SenseTime previously owned a 51% stake in a join-venture in Xinjiang, but it sold its ownership in early 2019.

Go deeper

Where do tech bosses and politicians stand on AI regulation?

January 22nd

China's social credit system: Orwellian nightmare or a modern take on credit scores?

October 2nd