In China, human vs. machine face-offs are just as much about entertainment as they are about technology. On Thursday, Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group, held a facial recognition contest between T.V celebrity Wang Yuheng and “Mark” (蚂可), the facial recognition AI for Alipay, Ant Financial’s mobile payment system.

Over the course of three half hour rounds, Mark and Mr. Wang identified livestreaming celebrities at the event from hundreds of photographs. Both human and AI guessed correctly for the first two rounds, which involved 150 and 300 photographs, respectively. However, in the third round, when Mark and Mr. Wang were asked to identify the childhood photographs of two livestreaming hosts, and Mark lost.

“We wanted to see how the recognition abilities of super humans like [Wang Yuheng] compared to those of a machine,” Dr. Chen Jidong, the Senior Data Expert at Ant Financial, told TechNode.

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Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).