Also, people have tweeted at the technology in action.
is a good demo of what they appear to be doing
For the first one they are doing object classification & identification in realtime.
The second one is identifying crowds using a heatmap.
China's social credit system is glossed in the article.
Doesn't seem like there are a lot of good outcomes where AI is involved. A passage near the end of the article:
In the meantime, we need a Plan B. Bostrom’s [author of book Superintelligence] starts with an effort to slow the race to create an A.G.I. [Artificial General Intelligence] in order to allow more time for precautionary trouble-shooting. Astoundingly, however, he advises that, once the A.G.I. arrives, we give it the utmost possible deference. Not only should we listen to the machine; we should ask it to figure out what we want. The misalignment-of-goals problem would seem to make that extremely risky, but Bostrom believes that trying to negotiate the terms of our surrender is better than the alternative, which is relying on ourselves, “foolish, ignorant, and narrow-minded that we are.” Tegmark [author of book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence] also concludes that we should inch toward an A.G.I. It’s the only way to extend meaning in the universe that gave life to us: “Without technology, our human extinction is imminent in the cosmic context of tens of billions of years, rendering the entire drama of life in our Universe merely a brief and transient flash of beauty.” We are the analog prelude to the digital main event.
Takes the idea of moving fast and breaking things to the next level.
Vast prison population and byzantine court system,
Declining life expectancy,
Surveillance state including 24/7 location tracking,
Births below replacement rate,
Systemic Unemployment and Age Discrimination,
Individually they don't seem bad until one of them bites you. But, the world is a very nasty place for many people.
Lots of people will point to how prosperous we are and how things like premature death and disease are at record-low rates throughout all of history.
I think we're in a nice little bubble of time where we're surfing on a false economy, borrowing from our future selves in a very unsustainable way which artificially makes our current situation look just about fine. But eventually we're going to use up this runway. At risk of mixing metaphors haphazardly, this is sort of the calm before the storm.
As climate change starts ramping up this shit is going to get very uncomfortably real, and lots of these nightmare dystopia-technologies we're currently developing will probably start seeing even greater mass usage.
I'm typically not the apocalyptic type, and I recognize that most members of every generation that's ever lived have believed that they were one of the last generations. But our universe has shown us that eventually everything ends, so realistically there will someday be a generation which makes this assumption correctly. I don't think we're necessarily they, but we might be their grandparents or great-grandparents.
There's a non-trivial chance that we've already passed the point of no return on climate change. We've almost casually walked into the maw of the great filter already--it just hasn't chomped down on us yet.
These 3 at least are a very american-centric view of things. In our good old Europe (excluding UK) things are way better.
Now, some things on your list are universal :/…
It's a brilliant and beautifully photographed documentary about the people who ride the cross-Saharan train, sometimes as the core of their livelihood, and the people who rely on this older technology just to be able to eat.
It's titled The Mauritania Railway: Backbone of the Sahara
edit: I just can't recommend it enough. Just watching a few moments already has me sucked in
To me, the whole present situation seems much closer to the story line in Elysium. I've worked in factories like the protagonist. It's not as distant as it can seem.
This is the opposite of a problem. Overpopulation is a huge global issue.
> Vast prison population and byzantine court system
> Systemic Unemployment and Age Discrimination
You forgot discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality and, most notably, wealth.
PS: Male:Female gender imbalance at birth + early deaths is why the replacement rate is over 2.0 lifetime births per woman.
No we don't. IIRC, birth rates are dropping everywhere and the world population in on track to plateau mid-century before it declines.
I think it's more dystopian for all governments to have the same ideals and policies than for different governments to have different ideals and policies. It's okay that China is different.
Multiple actors would just increase bureaucratic overhead.
AI might be significantly composed of hype today, and there may indeed be an AI winter on the horizon as people start to trade in insane optimism for realistic expectations, but if a little of the hype is true then we have likely completed the equivalent of a Manhattan project to develop something truly nuclear in its potential to disrupt human civilization.
In the twentieth century we found a way to leverage physical energies greater than we'd ever imagined humans could wield. Now we might be developing something more subtle, yet also insanely powerful: a way to leverage data manipulation in a way that will slowly transpose democracy and individual thought through brute analytical power.
Or so the doomsaying goes. It may be baseless paranoia, but it's credible enough to deserve some very strong caution. From what we've seen in our universe we're probably due to run into a great filter very damn soon. It's probably something we already know about today, in some form at least.
China is on track to have the most advanced systems of mass surveillance in the world.
What's particularly bad about the system per se, without getting into the arguments specific to Chinese politics?
> What's particularly bad about the system per se,
Tightening everyday social control that's at least partially designed to serve the political goals of an unabashedly authoritarian regime that's self-consciously opposed to things like "universal values of human rights."  
It might be easier to understand it this way: in China, you're a de-facto criminal if they judge you to be in some way opposed to the regime.
> without getting into the arguments specific to Chinese politics?
That's almost like asking what's bad about something without getting into its bad aspects.
Unsubstantive comments on flamebait topics = de facto trolling.
Unsubstantive comment + flamebait topic = de facto trolling. By de facto I mean whether you intended to troll or not. We can't read your mind, but we know a lot about the likely effects of such a post. Moreover, you have a history of doing this, e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17102050. Please don't do it any more.