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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: 2, Disagree) by khallow on Sunday August 16 2020, @05:07AM (4 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 16 2020, @05:07AM (#1037367) Journal

    and state capitalism.

    Which let us note is a nasty variant of socialism not capitalism which would by the same naming convention be private capitalism because of the all important distinction - private ownership of capital.

    China doesn't even have socialized medicine. There was a Wuhan doctor talking about a pregnant woman who's family spent everything they had-- 10s of thousands of dollars on her medical care, but when the money ran out, they removed her from the ventilator-- especially tragic since China's government decided to cover costs of covid-19 care a couple days later (similar, but more generous, to the US non-socialized medical system paying for covid testing).

    I guess not all socialized medical systems work very well, eh?

    In socialism, the workers own the means of production. In socialism, pregnant women are not murdered by medical staff because they cannot personally afford treatment--

    Except, of course, when that's all not true. And it's interesting how much worse this is that the US system.

    if you spread the costs of her treatment out over every person in the country, her care amounted to a fraction of a penny per person.

    So what? They chose not to spread out that particular cost. It doesn't make their health care system non-socialist.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16 2020, @05:58AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16 2020, @05:58AM (#1037375)

    God don't you douchebags get tired of cheerleading your favorite words? If bad capitalism is socialism, and good socialism is capitalism, then you might as well say I WIN and give up the pretense of having a debate about it.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday August 16 2020, @09:43PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 16 2020, @09:43PM (#1037618) Journal

      If bad capitalism is socialism, and good socialism is capitalism, then you might as well say I WIN and give up the pretense of having a debate about it.

      Words have meaning. If you refuse to use the meaning of the words, or alternately, set forth your own definitions clearly for others, then you just handed an I WIN button to your critics. And sure, you might as well give up the pretense of having a debate about it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17 2020, @11:31AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17 2020, @11:31AM (#1037784)

    Can someone please translate or summarize these responses into something that makes sense?

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday August 17 2020, @10:49PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 17 2020, @10:49PM (#1038100) Journal
      Some AC wingnut claims that the present day ills of China are due to Capitalism while ignoring the place was even worse when the place was more Socialist. Then when one looks at the assertions made, one sees incredibly poor targeting. "State Capitalism" is not capitalism. A healthcare system where 95% of the populace has public health insurance [] which covers 70% of their healthcare costs is not a capitalist system. And who knows how much murdering of pregnant women in the old Communist China went on, but it was probably a fair bit given their general callousness and the One Child policy as well as ruthless older initiatives that were even worse.

      Things have improved FWIW. I think a good portion of that can be attributed to the introduction of a degree of Capitalism and democracy.