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Daily Drip

Anime Character Facial Recognition Technology is Here

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Update: iQIYI have contacted us to clarify that this technology is still in a testing phase and has not been rolled out yet. The original article from iQIYI staff, upon which some of the information below was based, has now been removed. 

Looking to the future of its increasingly lucrative anime market, Chinese streaming giant iQIYI has recently pioneered an anime-based facial recognition dataset — and apparently someone thought it was a good idea to call it “iCartoonFace”.

Researchers say the dataset, based off 68,000 annotated images from 739 different anime and cartoons, will be useful in fields of cartoon person modeling, image classification, and recognition research.

Although considered “state of the art”, the technology significantly underperforms when compared to human-based techniques. The research itself concludes that there is still much to be done in the field of cartoon facial recognition.

Nevertheless, iQIYI’s forays into anime-based AI research demonstrate an intent to expand and invest in its own catalogue of animated content. It may be a strategic move for the streaming platform as China’s anime market continues to show significant growth in the midst of the so-called “capital winter” freezing the nation’s main film industry.

Related: 

“We are Netflix Plus”: An Interview with iQIYI VP Leon Chen

The future of iQIYI’s pending anime empire remains unclear, but the platform is obviously aiming to expand. It’s already proclaimed itself “Netflix Plus”, and expressed plans to build its own entertainment ecosystem. Only time will tell how anime facial recognition will factor into that dream.

Monisha Pillai
    Monisha is a senior at NYU studying media theory, Chinese culture and Mandarin. You can probably find her ordering boba five times a day or crying over Korean boy bands.