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This tech enables the Chinese social credit system. Pretty dark use for AI IMHO.

I keep on wondering if the Social Credit system is just for parallel reconstruction of events or not (or maybe both).

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.

I don't mean to play it down, but honestly classifying objects and identifying crowds don't seem like super valuable outcomes from such a huge investment. I guess I expected something like "persistently label and narrow down the definition of an object over the span of multiple occasions" or "identify the intent or demeanor of a crowd".

They are using this to routinely pull wanted criminals out of crowds using facial recognition. Seems valuable especially to somewhere like China that likes to grab particular people.

Do you realize if you did this at scale how much faster you could look through recordings ? And that this is a manual process currently? Also, they are just starting out .

I just got done reading this New Yorker article yesterday:


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.

Wow, for anyone who hasn't read into this, check out the Wikipedia page[1]. Feels like sci-fi dystopian futures are closer everyday.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_System

I think we are already in a Dystonian future and people are distracted and don't notice.

Vast prison population and byzantine court system, Declining life expectancy, Horrific traffic, Surveillance state including 24/7 location tracking, Births below replacement rate, Systemic Unemployment and Age Discrimination, etc

Individually they don't seem bad until one of them bites you. But, the world is a very nasty place for many people.

Oh yeah, this is dystopia baby. For many, at least. Like everything, it's probably on a spectrum and it's probably degenerative over time.

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.

- Vast prison population - Declining life expectancy - Horrific traffic

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 :/…

This is completely tangential, but adds to the sort of vision of the world on that stage. Specifically your reference to how hard the world can be for some people.

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.

> Births below replacement rate

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.

Birth below replacement rate being a problem is usually in the context of the problem of "us dwindling versus them proliferating".

Every large ethnic group is at least slightly below replacement rate in the USA. Some more than others but it's not a good sign suggesting that people are generally struggling.

PS: Male:Female gender imbalance at birth + early deaths is why the replacement rate is over 2.0 lifetime births per woman.

The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed’. William Gibson

Not sure "Births below replacement rate" is dystopian, "uncontrolled and unsustainable population growth" definitely is. Sadly, what we have is the latter

> "uncontrolled and unsustainable population growth" definitely is. Sadly, what we have is the latter

No we don't. IIRC, birth rates are dropping everywhere and the world population in on track to plateau mid-century before it declines.

And also "uncontrolled and unsustainable" living standards growth. When you have huge portions of world population wanting to live like in the west, and not only for basic stuff like hygiene and schooling. And meanwhile people are decrying that we're too many, too many people are born. Which basically translates to more women should take more pills. Children of men, the movie, comes to mind.

Wow, given this and the AI system it sounds way too much like Psycho-Pass. Pretty horrific indeed.

I read the Wikipedia entry and I immediately thought of Sibyl. It's horrifying and quite sad knowing that many people predicted this long ago and we did nothing but rejoice for the literary excellence of their works (e.g. 1984)

Maybe it's the communist ideals, or maybe it's the reality of governing over one hundred cities with populations over one million, but personal liberty is valued less than social order and economic advancement in the Chinese goverment.

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.

Yes. This Chinese social credit score undermines the free market in social credit scores, leading to inefficiency and lost opportunities.

Given that most of the value of the system is derived from centralisation of data and applying the exact same standard to every citizen to ensure comparability the free market in this case would not increase efficiency, in the same way healthcare markets don't.

Multiple actors would just increase bureaucratic overhead.

Right? I suppose any stupendously powerful technology that isn't yet adequately understood or controlled will tend towards dark uses.

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.

Mass surveillance is quite possibly the most practical large-scale application of modern AI.

"Some people just don't understand the dangers of indiscriminate surveillance." -JC Denton, Deus Ex

China is on track to have the most advanced systems of mass surveillance in the world.

I've seen quite a lot of criticism against the social credit system. But to me it it just crime history and (financial) credit history mined from big data and combined into a centralized system.

What's particularly bad about the system per se, without getting into the arguments specific to Chinese politics?

> I've seen quite a lot of criticism against the social credit system. But to me it it just crime history and (financial) credit history mined from big data and combined into a centralized system.

> 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." [1] [2]

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.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/world/asia/chinas-new-lea...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/magazine/the-lonely-crusa...

> 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.

I haven't read much about it, but isn't China's social credit system (sesame credit) based off of Aliexpress and NOT from the government like a lot of people are presuming? When people say Chinese social credit system, it sounds like it's the government that owns and enforces it.


Could you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to Hacker News? Above all on flamebait topics.

Unsubstantive comments on flamebait topics = de facto trolling.

How can't this be a legitimate opinion?

That's beside the point. The point is that the comment contains no more information than "yay flamebait". The signal/noise ratio of HN comments needs to be much higher.

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.

So you are saying HN has taken an active stance against Islam?

If you continue to break the site guidelines we will ban you.

Who needs social credit scores telling you what to think when you have HN!

Can you provide any details as to what you define as good, and how this system reflects that?

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