With so much negativity in the world, we could all use to smile a bit more, don't you think? One company is trying to help out on that front.

The tech company Canon has installed cameras with AI-enabled "smile recognition" technology at its offices in China. The cameras only allow smiling workers to enter rooms or book meetings.

So basically, if you don't smile, the door won't open. What a concept!

The reason for this technology being implemented is a bit unsettling though. A recent report in The Financial Times highlighted how Chinese companies are surveilling employees to an unsettling degree with the help of artificial intelligence and algorithms.

Companies are monitoring which programs employees are using on their computers to gauge productivity. They're also using closed-circuit tv cameras to measure how long they take on their lunch break and even track their movements outside the office using mobile apps.

One expert had the following to say about these practices: “Workers are not being replaced by algorithms and artificial intelligence. Instead, the management is being sort of augmented by these technologies. Technologies are increasing the pace for people who work with machines instead of the other way around, just like what happened during the industrial revolution in the 18th century.”

Interestingly enough, Canon Information Technology actually introduced its "smile recognition" cameras last year as part of a plethora of workplace management tools, but the technology doesn't seem to have gotten much attention. This probably exemplifies how common surveillance tools like this have become.

When you really think about it, AI-enabled smile recognition cameras are in many ways the least dangerous type of surveillance technology. They have the benefit of being quite obvious.

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