AirTrunk launches first Hong Kong hyperscale data centre
In an announcement made by AirTrunk the company marks the expansion of its presence in Asia Pacific (APAC) with the launch of its first hyperscale data centre in Hong Kong. The company’s latest data centre is reported to be a scalable 20+ megawatt (MW) hyperscale data centre, that is connected, secure, and an efficient location for the cloud in Hong Kong.
"The opening of AirTrunk's first data centre in Hong Kong demonstrates a strong vote of confidence in Hong Kong as a prime location for data centres in Asia. High-end data centres, like AirTrunk, can leverage the city's sophisticated high-tech infrastructure, tech professionals, reliable power supply, and robust enforcement of data privacy and security to expand in the region,” commented Charles Ng Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong.
In developing the new hyperscale data centre AirTrunk converted an eight-storey industrial building into a hyperscale data centre in a rapid timeframe to support the increase in cloud customers in the region. Throughout the project AirTrunk maintained strict protocols to protect workers from the risks of COVID-19, such measures included onsite testing facilities, as well as building key data centre components offsite in controlled environments.
"We're seeing record levels of demand for hyperscale infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific region. To meet this demand, we're building hyperscale data centres at record speed, safely and to the highest standards. We completed AirTrunk HKG1 in just over a year despite COVID-19. The opening of AirTrunk HKG1 marks a key milestone in our expanding regional platform. We have an exciting year ahead with hyperscale data centres opening in Singapore, Sydney North and Tokyo along with major expansions of our Sydney West and Melbourne facilities,” added Robin Khuda, Founder and CEO of AirTrunk.
"AirTrunk's clients benefit from our leading customer experience and hyperscale operations including world-class reliability, facility management and security. HKG1 has been designed to meet the stringent security requirements of our global technology customers (PCI DSS, ISO27001, SOC2 Type 2) and will deploy advanced access control, threat monitoring and detection systems," concluded KC Li, Head of Hong Kong at AirTrunk.
The launch of its latest data centre in Hong Kong reportedly marks AirTrunk as the first Australian data centre business to open a data centre in Hong Kong.
Chinese Firm Taigusys Launches Emotion-Recognition System
In a detailed investigative report, the Guardian reported that Chinese tech company Taigusys can now monitor facial expressions. The company claims that it can track fake smiles, chart genuine emotions, and help police curtail security threats. ‘Ordinary people here in China aren’t happy about this technology, but they have no choice. If the police say there have to be cameras in a community, people will just have to live with it’, said Chen Wei, company founder and chairman. ‘There’s always that demand, and we’re here to fulfil it’.
Who Will Use the Data?
As of right now, the emotion-recognition market is supposed to be worth US$36bn by 2023—which hints at rapid global adoption. Taigusys counts Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom, and PetroChina among its 36 clients, but none of them has yet revealed if they’ve purchased the new AI. In addition, Taigusys will likely implement the technology in Chinese prisons, schools, and nursing homes.
It’s not likely that emotion-recognition AI will stay within the realm of private enterprise. President Xi Jinping has promoted ‘positive energy’ among citizens and intimated that negative expressions are no good for a healthy society. If the Chinese central government continues to gain control over private companies’ tech data, national officials could use emotional data for ideological purposes—and target ‘unhappy’ or ‘suspicious’ citizens.
How Does It Work?
Taigusys’s AI will track facial muscle movements, body motions, and other biometric data to infer how a person is feeling, collecting massive amounts of personal data for machine learning purposes. If an individual displays too much negative emotion, the platform can recommend him or her for what’s termed ‘emotional support’—and what may end up being much worse.
Can We Really Detect Human Emotions?
This is still up for debate, but many critics say no. Psychologists still debate whether human emotions can be separated into basic emotions such as fear, joy, and surprise across cultures or whether something more complex is at stake. Many claim that AI emotion-reading technology is not only unethical but inaccurate since facial expressions don’t necessarily indicate someone’s true emotional state.
In addition, Taigusys’s facial tracking system could promote racial bias. One of the company’s systems classes faces as ‘yellow, white, or black’; another distinguishes between Uyghur and Han Chinese; and sometimes, the technology picks up certain ethnic features better than others.
Is China the Only One?
Not a chance. Other countries have also tried to decode and use emotions. In 2007, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a heavily contested training programme (SPOT) that taught airport personnel to monitor passengers for signs of stress, deception, and fear. But China as a nation rarely discusses bias, and as a result, its AI-based discrimination could be more dangerous.
‘That Chinese conceptions of race are going to be built into technology and exported to other parts of the world is troubling, particularly since there isn’t the kind of critical discourse [about racism and ethnicity in China] that we’re having in the United States’, said Shazeda Ahmed, an AI researcher at New York University (NYU).
Taigusys’s founder points out, on the other hand, that its system can help prevent tragic violence, citing a 2020 stabbing of 41 people in Guangxi Province. Yet top academics remain unconvinced. As Sandra Wachter, associate professor and senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, said: ‘[If this continues], we will see a clash with fundamental human rights, such as free expression and the right to privacy’.