The Chinese technological revolution is overseen by an Orwellian dictatorship.
The Chinese Communist government increasingly poses an existential threat not just to its own 1.4 billion citizens but to the world at large.
China is currently in a dangerously chaotic state. And why not, when a premodern authoritarian society leaps wildly into the brave new world of high-tech science in a single generation?
The Chinese technological revolution is overseen by an Orwellian dictatorship. Predictably, the Chinese Communist Party has not developed the social, political, or cultural infrastructure to ensure that its sophisticated industrial and biological research does not go rogue and become destructive to itself and to the billions of people who are on the importing end of Chinese products and protocols.
Central Party officials run the government, military, media, and universities collectively in a manner reminiscent of the science-fiction Borg organism of Star Trek, which was a horde of robot-like entities all under the control of a central mind.
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To make China instantly rich and modern, the Communist hierarchy — the same government that once caused the deaths of some 60 million innocents under Mao Zedong — ignored property rights. It crushed individual freedom. It embraced secrecy and bulldozed over any who stood in its way.
IMAGINE A city where you can take a driverless bus to an unmanned supermarket or enter a hotel room using a facial recognition system – a place with a brain controlled by artificial intelligence, where almost all of the infrastructure and everyone in the city is monitored and linked to some kind of software.
This is not some dystopian vision of the future or a scene from a new sci-fi movie. In fact, in China, it’s already happening. Located about 60 miles south of China’s capital Beijing is Xiongan New Area. This former backwater is being transformed into a new high-tech smart city. Built entirely from scratch, it’s one that could provide a model not only for new cities in China, but in other parts of the world. Envisioned as China’s “city of the future,” Xiongan’s basic infrastructure is expected to be completed by 2022 and will have a population of 5 million.
Of the 1,000 smart city projects that are currently being built worldwide, China is home to half of them. Given that the smart city initiatives involve collecting large amounts of personal data, some experts are raising concerns over what’s driving China’s smart city boom and what the projects really mean for its citizens.
Once the system is fully implemented, Chinese citizens will be given a social credit score based on their deeds. For example, failure to pay a court bill or playing loud music in public may cause a low score. This score can dictate what rights people have. Those on the “blacklist” are prevented from buying plane or train tickets, for instance, as well as working as civil servants or in certain industries.
The fact that Big Data and facial recognition technology will be applied for the purpose of monitoring citizens raises various human rights concerns. Not surprisingly, the scheme has been described as a “digital dictatorship” and a “dystopian nightmare straight out of Black Mirror”.