Opinion: Xi Jinping’s Panopticon Arrives
The Chinese Academy of Sciences hosts computer scientists inquiring into artificial intelligence’s fundamental mysteries.
- Practical innovations, such as iris recognition and cloud-based speech synthesis, are distributed to Chinese tech giants, artificial intelligence start-ups, and even the People’s Liberation Army.
- Xi Jinping, China’s current president and the general secretary of its Communist Party, has expressed interest in the work of this institute.
- Xi has a grand AI strategy, for China to be competitive with the world’s AI leaders by December, and reach AI supremacy by 2030.
- AI technologies apply to nearly every human domain.
- In partnership with China’s prominent AI start-ups and using the Muslim minority as a test population, Xi prepares for implementation of this surveillance strategy.
- Xi wants to use these analytical powers to push forward China’s surveillance, intending to build an all-seeing digital system of social control in which precog algorithms identify potential dissenters in real time.
China’s government historically uses historical turning points to augment surveillance, and the COVID-19 outbreak was no exception.
- Xi’s government pressured private companies for their possession of sensitive personal data.
- Emergency data-sharing agreements during the pandemic could remain permanent.
- China has millions of cameras surveilling the country, and the government aims to soon achieve full video coverage of key public areas.
- AI could match individuals in the video footage of the public area to a vast amount of personal data: texts, bodily makeup, travel records, purchases.
- Xi wants to use this AI to predict political resistance before it happens, building a digital system of social control to identify dissenters in real time.
Xi could export the system beyond China’s borders to entrench the power of a generation of autocrats.
- China already exports powerful surveillance innovations to the world’ existing and potential autocracies.
- A bloc of AI-powered authoritarian leaders could determine the geopolitics of the century, preventing billions from exercising political freedoms.
- “An authoritarian state with enough processing power could feed every blip of a citizen’s neural activity into a government database.”
- In the US, police departments began using footage from Amazon’s home-security cameras.
- China uses “predatory lending to sell telecommunications equipment at a significant discount to developing countries, which then puts China in a position to control those networks and their data,” said Michael Kratsios, America’s CTO.