Incident 36: Picture of Woman on Side of Bus Shamed for Jaywalking

Description: Facial recognition system in China mistakes celebrity's face on moving billboard for jaywalker


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Alleged: Ningbo traffic police developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Dong Mingzhu.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor

CSET Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

In November 2018, Dong Mingzhu, the chairwoman of China's biggest maker of air conditioners, Gree Electric Appliances, had her face displayed on a huge screen erected along a street in the port city of Ningbo that displays images of people caught jaywalking by surveillance cameras. The artificial software used by the traffic police erred in capturing Dong's image from an advertisement on the side of a moving bus.

Short Description

Facial recognition system in China mistakes celebrity's face on moving billboard for jaywalker



Harm Type


AI System Description

The facial recognition algorithm used by the traffic police in Ningbo, China to spot and shame jaywalkers

System Developer

Ningbo traffic police

Sector of Deployment

Public administration and defence

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Cognition, Action

AI Techniques

Facial recognition

AI Applications

Facial recognition


Ningbo, China

Named Entities

Dong Mingzhu, Gree Electric Appliances, Ningbo, China

Technology Purveyor

Ningbo traffic police

Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss




Lives Lost


Data Inputs

photographs of people's facial features

GMF Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Known AI Goal

Face Recognition

Potential AI Technology

Face Detection, Ensemble Aggregation, Convolutional Neural Network

Potential AI Technical Failure

Context Misidentification, Data or Labelling Noise


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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