China’s Top Payments App Adds Balding Detection AI

Most of us probably never imagined that an ewallet could feature an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for detecting baldness. That’s exactly what has happened with Alipay, China’s largest payments application. Beyond the basic functions of linking bank accounts for seamless online and in-person transactions, Alipay offers a multitude of additional services, solidifying its status as a “superapp” among local users.

Not only does Alipay facilitate payments, but it also encompasses ride-sharing, mobile phone services, bill payments, and coupon distribution. It features travel services, shopping options, and even social media integration. The app’s latest feature, Takes things in an unexpected direction: it introduces an AI-powered hair loss detector for its users.

In an interesting twist, the South China Morning Post reported that Alipay’s users can upload images of their scalps. These images are processed through an advanced image recognition system trained with thousands of medically relevant pictures. The AI system then provides recommendations, which can range from basic hair care tips to suggesting professional medical consultations when necessary.

The AI hair loss detector is part of Alipay’s broader “Medical Assistant” feature, launched in April 2024 by Antgroup, a fintech subsidiary of Alibaba. This innovative feature aims to combine the functionalities of a digital wallet, a lifestyle service application, and a medical tool, offering users convenience that integrates several aspects of daily life into one app.

Despite the widespread success of such “superapps” in Eastern markets, they haven’t managed to achieve the same popularity in Europe and North America. Even so, notable figures like Elon Musk have expressed interest in this concept. Musk has openly discussed his desire to transform into a comprehensive, all-encompassing application, similar to those thriving in China.

The rise of multimodal apps carries significant privacy concerns. Critics argue that these applications consolidate vast amounts of user data, making privacy and security vulnerable to misuse by the app’s owners and any entities that have access to the information. The debate around data privacy is particularly heated in contexts like China, where the government mandates access to user data.

For instance, in Alipay’s case, the Chinese government’s requirement for available user data prompts worries about potential misuse. While the exact manner of data utilization remains officially unverified, it’s evident that managing a comprehensive database of user activity could enable real-time tracking of citizens. This raises significant ethical concerns about privacy and user autonomy.

While the integration of diverse functionalities into a single app brings undeniable convenience and efficiency, it also sparks an ongoing debate about data privacy and security. As technological advancements continue to blur the boundaries between various aspects of daily life, striking a balance between convenience and privacy will remain a critical challenge.

Shelby Deramus

Shelby Deramus

17 thoughts on “China’s Top Payments App Adds Balding Detection AI

  1. Alipay continues to impress with their innovations. The hair loss detector is just another testament to their forward-thinking approach!

  2. This new feature from Alipay is absolutely fantastic! Using AI to help with hair loss… What will they think of next? 🌟👏

  3. The amount of personal data these superapps collect is terrifying. Hair loss detection is a step too far! 😡📉

  4. Has Alipay gone mad? I didn’t sign up for a medical exam. Stick to transactions!

  5. I can only imagine the data security issues this will bring. Not worth it. 😑🔒

  6. Isn’t this an invasion of privacy? Who wants their scalp pics analyzed by an AI?

  7. Alipay has truly become the definition of a ‘superapp’. This hair loss detector is just another feather in their cap!

  8. This is such a fantastic blend of health and technology! Alipay is setting the bar high for other apps!

  9. Who would’ve thought a wallet app could also be a health advisor? Alipay is just incredible!

  10. Combining a digital wallet with medical functionalities? Alipay is truly pioneering the future!

  11. This is just too much! First, it’s payments, then ride-sharing, now hair loss? What’s next?

  12. Alipay is taking all-in-one apps to a whole new level. This is an amazing development!

  13. I love how Alipay keeps adding useful features. An AI hair loss detector is definitely unexpected but totally awesome!

  14. Privacy concerns aside, this just feels over-complicated and intrusive. Too much in one app!

  15. Amazing! Using AI to tackle everyday problems like hair loss is so innovative! Kudos to Alipay! 🌟🤖

  16. Alipay has turned into so much more than a payments app, it’s practically a life assistant!

  17. The concept is laughable. Alipay should stick to payments, not scalp scrutinizing.

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