The Atlantic: The Panopticon is Already Here
Wed August, 2020, Age: 4 years
China has taken advantage of the pandemic to vastly expand its authoritarian surveillance system, which is based on a combination of high-density camera networks, tracking of citizens’ online data, and AI-driven analytics designed to synthesize almost every aspect of people’s lives–from what they read online to where they travel, what they buy, and who they talk to. Although the technologies used to enforce such surveillance are still being developed, elements of China’s techno-surveillance system are already being sold abroad to countries as diverse as Britain, Serbia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Ecuador.
According to the author, “Xi wants to use artificial intelligence to build a digital system of social control, patrolled by precog algorithms that identify dissenters in real time… The emergence of an AI-powered authoritarian bloc led by China could warp the geopolitics of this century.” As American preeminence in the world recedes and Chinese researchers catch up to their counterparts in Silicon Valley, averting this dystopian scenario may depend in large part on pushback from China’s own citizens.