A research team at Baidu’s video platform iQiyi has released a new facial recognition dataset named iCartoonFace, Synced Review reports. The researchers say the anime-based dataset can apply to recognition research, cartoon person modeling, and image classification.

Why it matters: For China’s competitive streaming industry, the use of innovative artificial intelligence applications can prove valuable. The new dataset demonstrates iQiyi’s efforts to push boundaries in AI research as it looks to improve its animated content offering for users.

Details: iCartoonFace comprises over 68,000 annotated images with 2,639 identities from 739 anime and cartoon albums found online and in iQiyi’s video library.

  • The researchers also proposed a new “dataset fusion” method to improve performance in cartoon-based facial recognition algorithms.
  • While the new technique is considered “state-of-the-art,” it is not nearly as accurate as human-based techniques.

Context: iQiyi is China’s largest streaming site after crossing the 100-million subscriber mark in June. Along with competitors like Tencent Video and Bilibili, the firm is investing in animated content including feature length movies.

  • The platform already leverages AI in a variety of ways to serve recommendations, cast actors and actresses and create customized promotional content.
  • The appetite for anime in China remains strong, as evidenced by the recent success of movie Nezha, which became the country’s highest-grossing animation since its premiere on July 26.
  • The country’s anime market has grown substantially in recent years and is expected to reach RMB 200 billion ($28.4 billion) this year.

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