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posted by chromas on Sunday August 16 2020, @01:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the cloudscale-big-brother dept.

The Panopticon Is Already Here (archive)

Xi Jinping is using artificial intelligence to enhance his government's totalitarian control—and he's exporting this technology to regimes around the globe.

[...] Xi has said that he wants China, by year's end, to be competitive with the world's AI leaders, a benchmark the country has arguably already reached. And he wants China to achieve AI supremacy by 2030.

Xi's pronouncements on AI have a sinister edge. Artificial intelligence has applications in nearly every human domain, from the instant translation of spoken language to early viral-outbreak detection. But Xi also wants to use AI's awesome analytical powers to push China to the cutting edge of surveillance. He wants to build an all-seeing digital system of social control, patrolled by precog algorithms that identify potential dissenters in real time.

[...] China already has hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras in place. Xi's government hopes to soon achieve full video coverage of key public areas. Much of the footage collected by China's cameras is parsed by algorithms for security threats of one kind or another. In the near future, every person who enters a public space could be identified, instantly, by AI matching them to an ocean of personal data, including their every text communication, and their body's one-of-a-kind protein-construction schema. In time, algorithms will be able to string together data points from a broad range of sources—travel records, friends and associates, reading habits, purchases—to predict political resistance before it happens. China's government could soon achieve an unprecedented political stranglehold on more than 1 billion people.

Early in the coronavirus outbreak, China's citizens were subjected to a form of risk scoring. An algorithm assigned people a color code—green, yellow, or red—that determined their ability to take transit or enter buildings in China's megacities. In a sophisticated digital system of social control, codes like these could be used to score a person's perceived political pliancy as well.

A crude version of such a system is already in operation in China's northwestern territory of Xinjiang, where more than 1 million Muslim Uighurs have been imprisoned, the largest internment of an ethnic-religious minority since the fall of the Third Reich. Once Xi perfects this system in Xinjiang, no technological limitations will prevent him from extending AI surveillance across China. He could also export it beyond the country's borders, entrenching the power of a whole generation of autocrats.

See also: In the Age of AI

Related: Is Ethical A.I. Even Possible?
China Now Has AI-Powered Judges
The US, Like China, Has About One Surveillance Camera for Every Four People, Says Report

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Sunday August 16 2020, @02:00AM (3 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday August 16 2020, @02:00AM (#1037318)

    And for good reason! People are stupid, incompetent, overly emotional, prone to believing in fantasies or conspiracies, I could go on and on.

    It's just like why so many people trust their pets or other animals more than humans. You don't have to worry much about your cat or dog plotting to murder you after you've known it and lived with it for years, but you can't trust humans that much. A poorly-trained AI is similar.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16 2020, @02:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16 2020, @02:31PM (#1037471)

    What data do you think they train the AI on? Humans - search racist AI for examples. All the AI does is a high dimensional version of fitting a straight line to data points and using the slope to predict future events. All the hoopla is marketing blah blah blah.

  • (Score: 2) by pvanhoof on Friday September 11 2020, @09:55AM (1 child)

    by pvanhoof (4638) on Friday September 11 2020, @09:55AM (#1049424) Homepage

    A dog who feels its position in the family hierarchy threatened by a newly born baby human sometimes kills the baby. []

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday September 11 2020, @09:12PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday September 11 2020, @09:12PM (#1049671)

      Very interesting. Yet another good reason not to have dogs. I've never heard of a cat doing something like this.