Sooner or later government would require things like TV sets with front camera. So when a person watches TV, camera watches that person. There have been huge progress made in emotional inference which can allow government to measure emotional responses to what person is viewing. Imagine there is a news of rebellian getting crushed and if you are consistently showing supportive emotions, you can get black listed for further investigation. Cities can get microphones at restaurants and other places to analyse what conversations are happening and find hot spots where "trouble makers" hang out. Previously we had only vast sensor networks. Now we can turn each sensor in to autonomous spy that works loyally without salaries and demands nothing but cheap electricity. Computers allows for scale when humans are being replaced. If you want million spies scattered all around, its possible fairly cheaply now. I would also expect lots of other countries to adopt variant of these tech, typically under the notion of improving safety and security for general public.
Of course, they don't have to live with all that so they don't actually care. Next time you could ask them whether or not they're willing to renounce their U.S. citizenship and become Chinese citizen again so they can be monitored 24/7 for their own "insider" "good", then you will start to get true answers from them.
Back to the topic though, as a Chinese, I don't actually at the opposite of video surveillance in public, it made many places more safer and thus prosper.
However, surveillance cannot went too far, and certainly cannot be use to shame people. It's about respect of one's dignity, a bottom line that a government should never cross.
Plus, given the poor accuracy that system outputs, what if the system made a wrong detection and displayed information of an innocent? Chinese government probably don't care about it though.
If they aren’t going to scale it back then I hope they go all the way with it.
I hope they try to automate it and feed everything about everyone to a centralized AI.
I hope they give it more and more control including the ability to direct military drones.
I hope it then turns on them.
Because the “smart stupid” people that implement well-intentioned malice like mass surveillance can’t usually see far ahead (see reports of data harvesting companies getting hacked.)
If this is the path we’re going to go down then might as well speed up evolution and usher in a new class of intelligent life on this planet.
The governments and corporations of the "Free World" will only pander to China, for “access to their market”, and individuals can't do much against a regime that would happily mow its own citizens down with tanks and then erase all memory of the event within a single generation. 
Maybe independent developers could put a notice against Chinese authoritarianism in their apps and services when they're accessed from a Chinese IP, to raise awareness among their public.
There is no bottom to this abyss. There is no limit to the number of victims, the upper ceiling for that is 100%, or a gazillion people. There is no limit to their innocence, and no limit to the cruelty inflicted on them. There is no time limit, either. You say this because for you as an individual, it's easier rationalizing that non-resistance will somehow lead to a good outcome. But if everybody did that, it will become a trillion times worse for everybody, "forever", than ANYTHING you could do today. Setting yourself on fire in protest would achieve more, and hurt you less, than the outcome of global, perfect totalitarianism -- which is an ever shrinking noose of sociopathy, not stability.
Until you understand this you will not understand that your personal feelings are of secondary concern when basically the world is at stake. Not the planetoid, human society, the space where human personalities would have developed.
"A boot stamping on a human face, forever." Don't whitewash that in your own mind.. it involves blood, it involves children screaming in terror for what is done to their parents, it involves sobbing elderly crushed underfoot, "and so on". If you were face to face with just ONE such an act, could you really just shrug it off? If you could not help, it would still sit with you, you know that. If you were lucky, you would seek for ways to turn it into a constructive force.
What we are lacking is a perspective for what is at stake, and for the vast opportunities we have. As long as we use our minds more to make excuses than develop principles and stand behind them, we have no say in what is possible. Start with thoughts, then words. Don't be another voice calling people to fall into a sleep that would end in a potentially never ending, ever worsening nightmare.
I’m a 100% sure, really advanced AI will be like that. Millions will suffer as a side effect for the gain of few.
> Eyecool, he said, is also handing over two million facial images each day to a burgeoning big-data police system called Skynet.
A large scale protest is unlikely, but you’d be surprised what some rebellious CAFA students can do via art.
Art != Communication
And art is not a form of communication ether.
There is no shortage of literature on this topic but good place to start is Aristotle’s Poetics, essentially the first art theory ever written and it dives head first into the issue. In it, Aristotle laments on the corruption of communication at the hands of poetry.
I never asserted that.
> And art is not a form of communication ether.
That I did assert. Just because some books are written to argue something, doesn't make that truth. It took me 30 seconds to find 2 sources which support that art is a form of communication  . So at the very least (if your sources argue your point, while your work is a response to another work) there does not seem to be consensus on that matter.
Now if you could refer to your source that could be great. Because  didn't explain your viewpoint at all.
The Wikipedia for Poetics does appear to lack an elaboration on Aristotle’s more critical positions on poetry. The exact nature of his criticisms are contested (but their existence is not) so maybe that is why. Check out thes Quora entries for some relevant discourse:
“Viewpoints” are not very well “communicated” with art. Art correlates better with questions.
A helpful exercise would be to take a piece of art and break it into elements, then categorize those elements into Communication elements which would be ideas (sometimes subject and predicate but could be more basic literary expression too) and Art elements, being the poetics and aesthetics. It’s not an easy difference to describe in a comment but the Communication invokes ideas while the Art invokes emotion and other oddities. They are not always easy to decifer and articulate, but it’s very very fun to do if you like art in this way.
Once broken into these categories, you can now ask yourself what category is responsible for the revolution. It will be the communication category, sometimes with the support of the Art category.
Also, in critique, media only refers to medium plural, not content but strictly the matter which serves to represent the abstraction.
Only if you look at it from a short-term, narrow angle and only because communication is so advanced nowadays. If you look at the time when communication was more limited, you can find that there are several art movements who most certainly and quite obviously communicated their PoV, a zeitgeist, or flat out propaganda (a recent example is posters and paintings from WWII).
> “Viewpoints” are not very well “communicated” with art. Art correlates better with questions.
This is just pedantic. Those questions lead to viewpoints eventually. The author might or might not have intended those viewpoints but that is irrelevant.
One problem with this is that since NEWS and almost all media is State-owned in China, there might be protests and we might be unaware, also the protesters are straightaway sentenced plus now even their family members get "negative points" if I am not mistaken. There's a reason why Chinese people living outside also dont say negatively.
THEN you make any kind of rules you want
Prevent any rebellion with AI
Install implants to people to further cement your control later. You won’t even need to do facial recognition.
There are essentially two options here:
1) A ruling class enforcing totally arbitrary rules on a society of “pets”
2) An AI that eventually makes the ruling class completely irrelevant
My main concern is that this AI will not be sensitive to what humans need or want and will cause a lot of mismatch that they won’t be able to get out of anymore. Revolution won’t be an option. You’re just stuck in a jail being controlled by a dumb AI that just prevents any way out of the jail.
There may be no more progress or advancement as this AI would not have any abilities or interest in any of that. Just a zoo of humans essentially.
We are already turning the entire planet into farms and monocultures.
And a zoo for ourselves is next. No matter what you do someone will invent autonomous X that will then set the standard for all human behavior. It will be so efficient as to notice when you did a tiny thing wrong and the penalties would be extracted via perfectly mapped system of rewards. It will know anyone who tried to help you out as well.
It’s just too “sweet”.
1. You assume stopping "revolution" is the goal. It is not. All you have to do is look at what outcomes "revolutions" in an info saturated/low attention span/consumption culture based society have produced in the last 20 years.
2. In 2013 the Washington post did an estimate on how much was being spent on the surveillance society in the US. Everyone reacted in disbelief. Do you know by how much that budget has increased in the last 5 years? Are these people just brain-dead to be spending this kind of cash? Ofcourse not.
The US has made its share of mistakes over valuing freedom and squandering potential. China is overvaluing control and will make its share of mistakes too. We have to learn from both sets of mistakes to arrive at the right balance of where society should go in high noise info saturation environments. These are very new environment that society hasnt been in before and the right path ahead is not as obvious as people think.
They aren't deciding what's best for you, they're deciding what's best for themselves.
I wish researchers would start to think more creatively about what we can do with large video datasets and tools like face recognition. The least we can do is try to use this technology for social good. For example, a USC/Google team used computer vision tools to identify gender bias in modern cinema  (for my own research, we’re doing a similar kind of analysis on TV news at 100x the scale).
I studied computational linguistics/natural language processing in grad school, out of an interest in accessibility issues (I had RSI) and related applications, and had naively neglected to look very hard about how I'd be likely use it in a career.
Other people in my cohort went to work for the CIA. I couldn't move to the bay area for... reasons, (this was pre-Google) and it seemed everyplace I could find anything wanted me to have a security clearance, with all the implications that has.
One could say I'm not mercenary enough, or that I took too many philosophy classes, or any number of other rationalizations, but one way or another, none of the jobs I've taken have had much need for what I studied.
I feel morally obligated to use what I know to improve the state of the world. This has, unfortunately, led to a lot of unemployment and serious depression.
Pseudonym for obvious reasons.
At the very least it will keep you plenty busy and is fun.
And as you would suspect, I'm a PhD grad working in the Bay area on mas surveillance AI. Half a million dollars a year.
I honestly don't know how to invest the money anymore. Index funds are boring at this point.
When you wrote this, what did you anticipate my reaction would be?
I must admit, I really don't know what it would be like to be working in the bay area on mass surveillance AI for half a million a year.
I wish researchers would start to ask themselves if what they're building can be abused by authoritarian governments, and if so, switch focus to a field of research that will make the world a better, rather than a worse, place to live in.
History will not look kindly on researchers who built the tools that enabled Xi the Pooh to achieve a dystopian surveillance state.
Google will glorify it’s history in it’s middle schools just like America glorifies it’s history in it’s middle schools.
Considering the researchers are hired according to their sheltered backgrounds, holding them as indivuals accountable is futile.
If you care, vote accordingly, for politicians willing to refuse corporate donations.
If you care a lot, study revolutionary history, learn from it and organize. I’m just paraphrasing the only thing that seems to ever actually work.
We should encourage developers to fight for privacy, and discourage them from engaging in research/writing code that can be used to commit evil acts.
And yes, I wholeheartedly agree that everyone should vote.
Some very smart people in China did exactly that, and arrived at a conclusion on what the local market for surveillance tech was lacking. Based on what the government will fund, they came up with an answer we seem to dislike.
probably not as much money in that though.
I am not personally against girls seeing depictions of other girls in movies (have you consulted with the anti-bodyshaming sect?) however this claim to “social good” is telling of a desperate effort to ignore actual social problems, none of which are so conveniently morally distinct from the economic disparities Google instigates and defends on a daily basis. Studies show little girls who are homeless have bigger problems.
Looks like a way to sell more ads.
And the same people who try to work for good can find hey've just armed others for evil by giving them tools.
That sounds entirely worthless.
A social good involves helping somebody who needs aid.
This proposal merely fills a perceived need by political dogmatics. This is exactly a sociopolitical memory leak.
"USC/Google team used computer vision tools to identify gender bias in modern cinema" is waving a flag for a specific political belief that is not shared by most Westerners. Outside of the valley this is fringe stuff.
The appropriate equivalent to this would be a right winger expressing concern at the 'appropriateness' of race mixing on camera (the hidden belief) - perhaps pointing out bias in the form of the black woman/white man duo being rare (potential legitimate issue).
Suppose I applauded the use of computer vision to spot the frequency of black man/white woman pairs - I know you wouldn't consider that a neutral political perspective.
tldr; Political neutrality is impossible when your attention is being dragged along by the current prevailing wisdom of the forum.
What they were looking for is the Real-time face detector implemented directly in the C code which is available only for the commercial version of the library (https://pixlab.io/downloads).
This may be an unreasonable risk-reward tradeoff. On the upside, you saved some money. On the downside, you risked (a) an international incident, (b) being cut off from future updates and (c) bringing unnecessary attention to your surveillance project. Much better tradecraft to try buying cleanly, thereby incentivizing everyone on both sides to co-operate, while keeping the shady tactics as a back-up plan.
But, if you're a nation state, I'm sure just throwing money at the open market will work too. I'm sure that for every company that refuse defence contracts, there are a number that will hapilly build a pink fluffy-looking drone with built in facial recognition, 250 grams of explosives and a proximity fuse. Or, just be willing to sell surveillance tech to authorative governments.
Cameras with facial recognition are the tip of the iceberg. Through sufficiently strong government legal control, metadata such as mobile phone GPS and tower data can be correlated with facial recognition, bank debit card tracking, mobile payment app payments (which are HUGE in China), mandatory data reporting from Lyft/Uber type apps, toll road transponders on private cars, transit system stored value cards, and so forth. It's the aggregate of the whole which paints a picture of a person's entire lifestyle.
Except Google, Facebook, and Amazon don't control your right to travel, can't use violence against you, can't seize your assets, don't have armies, and aren't states.
(edit for missing word and apostrophe)
The difference here is how it's used: If you have a "bad" social credit score in China you can't participate in some activities, right up to buying a domestic train or airline ticket. Possibly because your online writings have angered somebody working for their Internet Police. Or you have expressed an unpopular political opinion. Or you're a Uyghur.
It's a social credit score which gauges your compliance with societal and police-state defined norms.
And again, the US government does care about dissent and goes to great lengths to build files on what it considers potentially subversive forces that are essentially political dissidents. The same controlling impulses are there. And since the scaffolding is all there, the only things safeguarding against a dystopia are, firstly, the clear-headed and astute attention against various soft forms of social control, secondly the maintenance of decentralization as a virtue, and lastly the robust exercise of checks and balances that are nominally provided institutionally, and not, as your answer seems to imply, the intricacies of how certain scores are constructed.
and how relevant is that to the life of the average American citizen?
In a sense, the American apparatus is significantly more advanced. You don't even need a scary government and a social credit or a staunch party line. You simply dangle the carrot of free political speech around, let people run around with their signs on the street on occasion and they're perfectly content with their lot.
Being homeless and jobless is a strictly financial problem?
The NYT writes plenty of articles about US surveillance gone-too-far. Even a naive query like this: https://www.nytimes.com/search?query=surveillance turns up plenty of exposure on the issue.
At least in the USA, citizens can openly criticize and publish their government's corruption and failings and concerns about the surveillance state and abuses of power. Americans can do this without fear of unjust incarceration or worse. And the USA maintains, with all its flaws, a democratic process which requires its politicians to answer to the public and risk not being (re)elected.
China doesn't have (and never really had?) these features. I think this is important. I write this as a non-American and one who often criticizes American policy.
Manning, by the way, leaked an enormous unredacted cache of documents pertaining to active, ongoing military operations. This leak very likely resulted in the deaths of anti-Taliban and anti-Islamist informants and cooperators. Not all leaks are good at all times for all people, and some confidentiality rules exist for good reason.
It used to, sort of. An immortal Party ruled over the state. Now it's devolved into a dictatorship, with the predictable pitfalls thereof.
It's never been otherwise. It's returned to a hard dictatorship from a soft dictatorship, and appears to be shifting from authoritarian to totalitarian. I'm not sure if Mao's rule is properly termed 'totalitarian'.
If you're the only person on a route, and I have one camera at a point on that route.. is that really the same as 100 people on a route, with 100 cameras along that same route? I would say not. In the 2nd instance, I've taken 100 pictures of you (and 99 other people), and know in more detail what you're doing.
US and China have a similar land area.. so we can assume in China you're caught on camera more frequently. I say assume, because we don't know how much area these cameras on covering--which is the more important stat. There's a big difference between a wide area camera, and a security camera outside an entrance pointed at the ground.
It's always interesting to see a reference to a different society as a pedagogical tool to learn about something you might not like. The key step though is to see your own life from an outside perspective, i.e. introspection, which is a very lacking skill indeed.
Because those cameras are not used to track you, nor are you identified in those videos, nor is that data generally shared with anyone, and in most cases not the government.
In some areas, i.e. highways in LA, they do track license plates, and there is backlash and at least concern.
A 'timed security camera' is barely related to the idea of 'ubiquitous cameras that identify you and track your movements in a government DB and input into a social credit score' a system I might add citizens have no recourse to alter.
>> Because those cameras are not used to track you, nor are you identified in those videos, nor is that data generally shared with anyone, and in most cases not the government.
> Not yet.
That an ominous-sounding, yet totally empty and meaningless response. Most of those cameras are privately owned and operated, and would be incredibly difficult integrate into a centralized state surveillance system. We're mostly talking systems you can buy yourself at Costco:
Furthermore, a "backlash" in the case of cameras in "elevators, convenience stores etc." would have to be a backlash against private photography.
A California mall operator is sharing license plate tracking data with ICE (techcrunch.com), https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17502925
I can't explain why, I don't live in China. But I do notice many buildings in the cities I visit have thick strong window bars even up above the 5th floor. Maybe there is a strong concern about local petty crime?
I certainly don't disagree there is state surveillance, but I think you should be wary of assuming all devices sold in China as IoT web connected cameras are state cameras.
That is, it might be a safety measure preventing falling from a window. E.g. windows in my apartment used to have state-mandated bars because my daughter was small, and had to be prevented from falling from a window.
To be fair, I spent first 24 years of my life in China. Your idea were never appeared in any form of discussion when I was there. I did not even fancied about such explanation.
All in all, I assume you want to have a reasonable discussion.
To your point, no, those bars are not for preventing staff falling.
There are three levels of police in most jurisdictions worldwide: federal state and local. the US is no different, and putting devices on street poles typically demands compliance with planning law, and I suspect in any economy with cameras on light poles or sign posts by roads, its state actors.
The UK is either the most, or the second-most surveilled economy in the world. Not western world, worldwide. Cameras per head of population are increadibly high.
Your faith in 'old glory' is touching. I suspect, its misplaced.
Thieves will rappel down from the roof, so no floor is really safe without the bars.
Now I know: the intersection of thief, and rock-climber.
Technology has improved exponentially in the past. No guarantee it will continue. Ram prices are double from a year ago. Gpu prices are also not much better than 2 years ago.
Luckily we have improvements in m.2 ssds.
I gave specific examples of processed outputs that are much smaller than source and are trivial to store today. No need to store the source video. For an example of what you can do with location history, see https://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metad...
None of them are part of a surveillance state. Are they part of these statistics?
I believe stories like these carry a certain propaganda element and are directed behind the scenes. What ultimately sticks is "Don't share your tech with the Chinese or they will use it to build 1984's Orwell. Go work for harmless Silicon Valley instead, so you can make people click on advertisements and get them addicted to your platform.".
If we had access to all the facts (we don't), we could honestly compare the US's surveillance apparatus to the Chinese. I believe that it was the US that started it with the early Echelon systems, forcing the Chinese to step up their game (every time a Chinese spy got caught with these systems, their picture of US capabilities got a bit more clear).
All modern ML is build on old military projects, adversarial images is researched due to the military wanting no mistakes, and all popular tools see investments by DARPA/IARPA. There is just no way to escape the military when working with advanced technology, except for putting on the blinders and pretend that your work/code/tutorials are not being consumed by (foreign) intelligence agencies.
The US government is legit afraid to lose to China, because China seems to care way less about the unfairness and biases presenting itself in IT systems, while the educated US citizens demand fair automated treatment and justification. In the eyes of progress, those are mere hindrances and roadblocks that need clearing first, giving China a head start. The only thing you can do to lessen this drawback, is to publish wide and far that China does not care about ethics in AI, turning it into a PR problem for them.
DeepMind winning at Go would be like Alibaba winning the Superbowl with robots. It was a huge wake up call, and I think it rattled some cages of foreign militaries.
I myself share a lot of information with the US, including KYC data. A lot of US companies try to track every move I make online. Even if I wanted to go 1 month without touching anything Akamai, I could not. Commercialized mass surveillance it not much better than state-led mass surveillance.
It would have been interesting to see how the US would be portrayed if it was not the top dog. Like the US media attacks and publicizes the poor rights of women in countries like Afghanistan as part of the war effort, I wonder what aspects of US culture a country like Afghanistan would attack/deem subhuman.
There is always this knee-jerk “What about the US?” every time there is an article like this. If you haven’t lived in China and actually lived within their system, it’s easy to take for granted the freedom Americans have.
I taught in China and showed a YouTube (via VPN) of the Tiananmen Sqaure uprising to a classroom of high school senior journalism students. This was an international school and there wasn’t a single Chinese citizen in the room — a few days later I am called to the principal’s office because they had a visit from MSS about potential “subversive content” being presented in a classroom. This was about 6 years ago. Some of the teachers held clandestine bible study on weekends — the fact that it had to be clandestine should say something. Even the most radical Muslim in the US isn’t going to get arrested for having a religious meeting in his home. Of course if the conversation leads to a conspiracy to commit violence, then of course the authorities are going to be interested. Clandestine Christians in China have never been involved in the planning or execution of violent acts in China — yet they risk arrest by even having an unsanctioned get-together in their homes! In the US, tens of millions practice their religion without government molestation, even “scary” religions, yet in China, a person even talking with their next door neighbor about religion can get them on a list.
If a teacher in the US shows a video of the Kent State protests or plays disparaging videos about Ronald Reagan, the FBI doesn’t show up.
I can walk into any bus station in America and buy a bus ticket to anywhere without being denied because I may have had friends that were anti-capitalist. But in China, you can be denied the right to travel even within China if you are identified as a someone who has associated with anti-CCP elements. Look at Ai Wei Wei — an artist with 24/7 surveillance because he dared make a fuss about the Sichuan earthquake. He has been arrested, detained on multiple occasions, denied a passport and all sort of other indignities for simply making art. And yet in the US, we have stand up comedians that have built hugely successful careers criticizing and even humiliating the government, government officials and government policies. We have protest groups that burn effigies of presidents practically in front of the White House without being sent to a re-education camp, having their kids kicked out of school and/or banishment to the countryside. Try that in Beijing. See what happens when an Occupy protest happens on the streets of Shanghai.
Comparing China to the US is comparing a pigeon to a velociraptor when it comes to this stuff.
> If a teacher in the US shows a video of the Kent State protests or plays disparaging videos about Ronald Reagan, the FBI doesn’t show up.
(...) when I got to the airport, the FBI, the CIA, the TSA; they came and intercepted me. All these guys in black suits. And they took me in a back room and started questioning me about the Stokley Carmichael speech that I was listening to. They probably, you know, have some sort of bug, or some sort of tap or something... But, umm... they were very concerned with me listening to this Stokley Carmichael speech from 1967. You know? Forty years ago. So, words that he said forty... now, we have gangsta rappers - we have rappers who talk about shooting other people all the time; killing... but the FBI's not looking for them. They're looking at me because I'm listening to this speech from forty years ago. And it shows you the power of those words, is that they resonate even to now. The FBI is still scared of this man. He doesn't have nearly the same influence over our community as he did then, but yet, they still stopped me at the airport for listening to his speech.
That's not to say it's the same - it's just a reminder that there's danger that surveillance can curb free speech - which curbs involvement - which in turns undermine the processes for democratic change.
Firstly, the Christian element to the Taiping Rebellion is one reason why the Chinese state is wary of Christianity outside the carefully controlled state form that is permitted. Religion can obviously contribute to social unrest.
Secondly, house churches in China tend to promote the vision of a coming Kingdom of God that will do away with all the rulers of the world. Anywhere else in the world, that is viewed as an entirely mainstream aspect of Christian doctrine. However, the Chinese Communist Party sees this as an attack on their own authority, and so they want Christians to remain within the state church that downplays this doctrine.
With regard to this second point, it is not just Christianity. The same treatment applies for any other sociopolitical movement in China that envisions a future for the country without a place for the established Communist Party in it. It doesn’t matter if Christians are not advocating violence. The mere fact that they even question the everlasting authority of China’s authorities is already offensive enough to get them condemned.
To understand this, you have to learn that what CCP did from 1950 to 1990 is aiming on sandificate the whole society. They successfully destroyed all tradition local communities under the name of "reform for communism", by killing landlords in rural and taking away fortunes of rich men in cities. Just like what happened to Jews in 1930s, German. People are atomic and not self organized. They only focus on their own interest and no concept of being a member of a local group.
However, Christians are encouraged to build local communities, and holding regularly meetings in Church or someone's home. This is level 0 alert for CCP.
I think our collective consciousness should be to show the world that a free and open nation is the best form of national structure.
It should not be that someone is doing something not free and open, and then all statements are pinned to say those are bad. That does not help the cause of convincing others to do the good.
I think the sin is on both sides:
The western nations seemingly enjoying freedom and openness should understand why there is a tendency to move to police state. Not to label everything as the givernment is run by evils communists, or some other easy reasoning that deliberately frame the problem outside of its inherent complexity.
The people inside, however, should do the same, understand why people outside are worried about the direction they are heading to.
I totally get the point that this article falls victim of the first sin, where they automatically label what China is doing as bad, and use a title that obviously state that mental judgement.
And what you are saying actually is more correct to identify that what happening in USA is not showing free and open nation is the best national political structure.
But in the end, this probably will be treated as another piece of nonsensical rambling, might even get downvoted.
I have lost faith in mankind’s long term viability on earth for quite some time. And that’s why I fully support Elon and Bezoss endeavor. Not that they are kind or trustworthy human being, but I agree with them, and I believe space is the only space to help humans not explode on this planet.
Huh? The NYT has endless articles about the dystopian dreams of Trump and the Republican party. Or perhaps you an authoritarian who thinks those dreams are actually a utopia.
Well, you don't shit where you live, or where those that pay you live.
Only within the narrow confines of what the "national interests" (and the interests of the elites who own them), allow.
In other words, only when there are competing fractions with different viewpoints within those.
Which is hardly all the cases when something should be criticised.
So how is India doing - worse than China? Every country is different so can't really be compared like that, but I am fascinated to see whether Chinese people will come to rise up against such an abusive government and somehow play psychological hardball in the same way, or whether the oppression will just tire them out because ecosystems of old biology just can't compete with the new ecosystems of machines and AI that that government is increasingly using.
If I were writing a Sci-fi novel I'd have the AI (at the moment of singularity) take over the selfish pig government and become the new ruler over ALL the humans (making them equal but under it), in a delicious moment of irony.
Democratic governments and countries are far wealthier, more efficient, and less corrupt than non-democracies.
I don't know anyone who knows anything about militaries who thinks they are efficient. The US Dept of Defense, for example, is hardly renowned for efficiency.
Straight from 1984.
> Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail! 
Luckily the US has safeguards in place and people that dare say "no, you can not do this" to the commander in chief.
The mountains are no longer high, nor the emperor far away. How long until your sesame credit is docked for walking into the wrong bookshop?
For those less comfortable with atonal pinyin.
China is now the dominant world player, this year it has surpassed the US on many areas (IT and military-industrial complex are the only US-dominant areas). Much more importantly, China is full-throttle developing it's trading strategy: The silk railway to Europe, trade dominance in Africa, footholds in Greece, Poland and other EU countries, large export deficit to the US. It won't be long before China will totally dominate trading in the world market.
At that point, China can set the requirements. When that happens, traders are likely to need a WeChat account, too. No good rep? No trade.
What does that mean?
A sibling comments asks you what you mean here. I'd like to know, too. This kind of sentiment is depressingly familiar -- it seems to me that a lot of Chinese people like to vacillate between "China is the best", "China is just doing what other countries are doing", and "China is a developing country" as the situation requires, seemingly without being aware they are doing it at all.
> China is now the dominant world player
This is true, but not in the way I think you would like it to be. If strength is measured only in concrete production or something, then yes, China is by far the strongest. But that's not where real strength comes from. It comes from good ideas. China is not just behind on good ideas, it's actually shackled. Good ideas are dangerous to the CCP, so they are actively suppressed. The natural result is the epidemic of IP stealing that China engages in. You can cheat on your homework and get good grades on tests for a while, but life is not like a test in school. You cannot cheat on the test that nature gives you. To succeed in the test of life, you need innovation and critical thinking skills, and the CCP will not allow there to be an environment in China conducive to the development of critical thinking skills. Nor will it allow the kind of environment where people listen to their own inner sense of right and wrong. People in China are not generally trying to be righteous, they're just trying to become one of the VIPs with back door access to the power. People in China don't trust each other, and rightfully so. Think about the massive secret costs this is imposing on the entire country.
The CCP is a bit like cancer, and a bit like a parasite. It will continue to drain the vitality from China as long as it is in power. Obviously, it is trying to shut the door forever on the possibility that it will ever not be in power. And it is stoking nationalistic notions of superiority as needed to get the support of those it is vampiring.
So it is deeply sad to me to see someone celebrating the spread of the CCP cancer as if it is a happy development. The rest of the world is watching in horror as you guys happily help build your own prison. China really is #1 at something now, leading the way as a technological/surveillance dystopia, serving as a warning to the rest of the world why we have to prevent what is happening in China from happening anywhere else.
My parent comment is neutral, I'm only stating some facts and conclusions. I agree you need innovation, creativity and critical thinking to make a more diverse society. Success however is in the eye of the beholder; it's mostly a matter of what measure you use. Growth is not a panacea, while many western thinking seems it is. Neither is "amount of societal order", as China seems to think.
As cities grew and employees become more mobile, keeping this current and useful started to break down. So the central authorities are modernizing their surveillance system.
Such control predates communism in China. Something like this was in place when China was mostly peasants, with local village officials keeping records. This goes back at least to the Qing Dynasty, around 1750. The concept that the government knows where everyone is and what they're doing goes way back in China.
However, we are very close to the point where everything could be tracked, and recorded in a usable way - including the exact location of most citizens at all times, discrepancies in utility bills, shopping, internet activity (except possibly for those few with impeccable OpSec, and even that for only a bit longer), visited places, communication with new and old contacts, etc.
Some like to think semi-romantically that we are in/near the Cyberpunk future Sci-Fi promised. We are not - if a government truly goes all out (as the CCP has shown willingness to do), it will at some point simply be impossible to evade the law.
The cool greyhat who hides in the shadows, hacks government systems, and operates outside mainstream society is a pipe dream. When all is said and implemented escape could only come from above - another nation, intergovernmental organization or at minimum people high up in the system. Dissidents and revolutionaries would hardly be able to do much.
Hence the scary question: Once the technology is available (now) and complete surveillance is implemented (soon), is there a going back?
Which necessarily makes it incomplete following Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Here completeness refers to diversity: to maximize completeness is to encourage genetic (and memetic) variation. If society is consistent, such a proposition becomes absurd.
It's an interesting thought experiment, and I don't think the consistent state is reversible. Luckily it requires that all of the world (intelligentsia) agree on the same set of rules, so there's still time.
Taking this argument to the extreme: perhaps the reason we haven't met civilisations from other worlds is simply that they all made the same logical error once the tech was available.
In the book _A Deepness in the Sky_, it is remarked that civilizations/governments that attempt to implement "ubiquitous law enforcement" are making a terrible mistake that always ends very poorly. It is, in the book, a marker of a society that is about to die.
I recommend the book.
The CCP, is not exactly a monolith. It has factions, some get suppressed, some come to prominence. One that saw the negative aspects as being too negative would have to come to prominence to undo the overreach.
They are already heavy surveillance, and have a long history of suppressing dissidents (from labor massacres to McCarthyism, and from the '68 Democratic Convention and Kent State, to black rights demonstrations, OWS, and such -- to name but a few).
If they have such tools at their hands, they'll use them.
It's not a love for freedom that doesn't let them, but that without full enforcement, they risk having such measure come against them. But once full enforcement is feasible...
Given that the tech isn’t there, maybe the idea is just to say “the algorithm did it” on a national scale. The technology might not be worth much at doing more than providing much wanted pretext for arbitrary action.
The main weapon of a dissident is public dissent. Mass surveillance doesn't directly prevent that.
The "war on science" is not about stamping out science any more than the inquisition was about making people atheists. It's about eliminating lines of scientific inquiry that can be used to challenge power.
In which case, not only it's not the real origin of some upcoming dark age, but the last voice of freedom before it.
No, it definitely isn't.
It's the willful and deceitful spreading of lies and portraying of scientists as bogeyman rather than the bringers of bad news. It's the purposeful act of dumbing down citizens and putting lies instead of facts in their heads to use 15 years down the line when those in school today become tomorrows voters.
That has absolutely nothing to do with abuses of technology (of which there are plenty, no argument there). The biggest abusers of tech tend to be those in power, closely followed by corporations, but the second is happy as long as they make bank, the first as long as they can use it to cement their position in power.
Look no further than what has happened at the EPA to get an idea of how incredible this whole story is.
See for example how now we find out that the whole "fats are bad for you, carbs are good" scientific "fact" was manufactured by the sugar industry.
This has infested the highest level of the scientific establishment (the american dietary recomandations), so you can't say that it was only the uninformed who were deceived.
The point of that nonsense is to sow distrust in all institutions, especially science. Since the susceptible people have no real idea about how science works, it's just swapping out one belief structure or another (even tho it's promoted as 'think for yourself', that doesn't work if you don't have the tools -- your ignorance is just as good as any experts' knowledge).
Once the actual experts are distrusted, any belief can be swapped in for these people, who are now useful idiots (in the Lennin sense).
It's not its literal expression -- but it could very well be the point.
Those people don't opt for "moon landing is a hoax, chemtrails, flat earth" because of the inherent value in those propositions.
There's a sentimental reason behind that attachment, and it has more to do with a distrust in science and "all institutions" that stems from the damage they've seen them do, and the lies those can say that affect their daily life.
A subsequent attachment to e.g. "moon hoax" is an extreme way to express that. Like a kid who rebels against their parents and becomes e.g. a neo-nazi, or takes heroin, but their real problem is that their dad beats mom, or mom is a control freak, or whatever.
In other words, these people opt for things like the "moon hoax conspiracy" in the same way that a society under some big fear opts for movies that represent this fear metaphorically (e.g. the Godzilla movies in post-Hiroshima Japan, or the zombie movies in the US https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/31/13440402/... ).
But one has to see beyond the surface to actually understand these people (and of course some are just nuts).
You're talking about the 'pull-side', the psych reasons (beyond mere ignorance) that pull people into this crap.
I'm talking about the reasons behind the 'push-side', the reasons all this crap is produced & promoted, which is to harness all those latent problems into a weaponized political mass that can do real damage.
We have many reasons to distrust our institutions. Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. For starters in my life span I've watched us be consciously lied into one major $1T+ war, a series of bank bailouts that enriched those responsible for a financial crisis at the expense of the general public, the largest financial fraudster in recent memory (Bernie Madoff) being short-listed for SEC director prior to his scam collapsing, and countless cases of "science for hire" (nutritional science is the worst) being used to sell stuff.
I feel like our authorities are harping on "fake news" and related things to evade their own responsibility for this mess.
But they don't create & promote the theories, then weaponize the believers.
E.g., you and I don't watch the scams, then go out & produce videos about how the world is flat, jet condensation trail are chemical sprays to kill us all, etc., etc..
That comes from sources truing to manipulate & weaponize the ambient discontent.
Exactly what I tried to say above.
One can ask eg. why people trusted science (and revered scientists) more in 50s and 60s US.
It wasn't because they were less religious then, obviously.
It was because they didn't have many chances, decade after decade, to get cynical.
It's never "a conspiracy of all the scientists". It doesn't take one either. You just need to spread enough of your own brand of "scientific results" to be able to sell to the public. It doesn't even have to be the most prestigious research -- you can pay to have the press releases appear in all kinds of magazines as "fact".
That's what the food industry has been done for ages with tons of research on the benefits of this or that ingredient, or promoting this or that kind of diet (depending on the manufacturer). It helps that those doing it are not just some regular food company making $100 million per year (and which doesn't have much clout), but huge conglomerates like Coca Cola, Nestle and co, that control a large part of the processed food market.
>That is quite the contrary of what the people who have declared war on science are claiming.
When people revolt against something, it's important to distinguish some general sentiment and its context, from what some of them might be literally saying.
A large mass movement can never articulate itself well -- they move in platitudes, often opt for the easiest slogans, and often have more people attached who are not the most representative, just the most vocal (and extreme).
Rosa Parks, for example, might have gone as "I should be able to sit in front of the bus", but the gesture actually meant "I want to be treated as equal, period".
Well, science is a noble aspiration and a great methodology.
A scientist, on the other hand, and "scientific results" in actual practice can be anything, from great, to non-reproducible crap (most papers), to trite BS (lots of papers), to lies and distortions to sell some product, corporate interests, or ideology (a heck of a lot of them).
Just because someone is called a scientist doesn't mean they do science.
Increasingly they work more as "promotional" and/or "support" departments of corporate and government interests.
And the public might be too ignorant (lack of knowledge and terminology) to articulate this properly, but is not so stupid (lack of IQ and/or experience) to be able to tell something fishy is going on.
Not to mention that usually mere technology is conflated with science, and just because we can technically produce e.g. thalidomide, it's assumed to be good as well (because it's a "scientific result"), and it's proponents bad (luddites). Used thalidomide so it's a clear cut example -- one can find many others.
>The biggest abusers of tech tend to be those in power, closely followed by corporations, but the second is happy as long as they make bank, the first as long as they can use it to cement their position in power.
Agree. And their biggest enablers to abuse tech, and their biggest apologists, are scientists, or increasingly, technologists.
After all, they're their employees. It's not like in the 19th century in the UK for example, were scientists could be lords and independently wealthy, and could call a spade a spade. Or like up until the 70s, when it was easier to be a vocal critic and still find a job elsewhere. With the tight grip on tenured positions, and the decline of the scientific job as a status, they are more dependent than ever.
Not that all of it is great but at least there is a bar to be crossed. There are some examples of outright fabrication in scientific publishing but the bulk of it seems to be in earnest.
No, like in the case of global climate change, the war on science is to enable the abuses of technology, not eliminate it. And that is true for many other cases.
In other cases like evolution and the age of the universe, the motivation is religious, not the abuses of technology. I have read recently that this true for many of the flat-earthers.
I am rather puzzled that you seem to be unaware of the various motivations involved.
I'm rather puzzled that you seem to stop at surface level motivations.
Can you manufacture devices faster than people can break them? I think some sort of mass uprising could still work.
This goes to a core why many believe a totalitarian surveillance system might not have a way back out. Once the first guy or girl breaks the first camera the cops will know immediately and they will end up in jail before they can say "revolt".
Former revolts and revolutions always needed the incremental creation of critical mass. Without the possibility of prior planing and coordination all that leaves you with is being a hopeless martyr who will be locked away in a heartbeat with the faint hope of at least motivating a few others to resist.
That said, if the technology delivers on the potential the gov't claims, I think they will have to relax the laws or make it flexible enough such that people and the government reach an understanding in expectations while affording people the maximum liberty while providing a base-line of expected behavior.
Obviously, without oversight from the people, this has the potential to turn into a monster.
China is a huge, huge country, historically it's been difficult for the central government to exercise its control all over its territory. This would be the realization of that historical desire.
And why is one viewpoint unworthy of HN but not the other?
HN threads are supposed to be for thoughtful conversation, in which people respond meaningfully to each other's questions and try to figure out the truth together. If you think in terms of intellectual curiosity (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html), that isn't hard to understand.
You should not only pity the minority, the Han people are equally forced there because the government needs maintain control.
These articles, do care about the people, but not all of them.
Of course, the strong arms of Chinese government stops that from happening.
That sounds like a better argument for China breaking up than it does using force and dystopian surveillance to maintain a lock on power.
It doesn't say so on the English wikipedia page, but in some areas known for violence and particularly extreme Chinese crackdowns, wearing a mask in public is banned.
I think it's near impossible to broach the topic without bringing in worldview & speculation, but..
Lets take a look at why that notion of democratizing technology existed in the first place. I think there are a few dispirate ones.
First, there is the adoption curve many recent "technologies." Penicilin & uimunization, paved roads & electricity... These technologies took generations before they reached 50% of the population, and are only now approaching the "last mile" phase.
Mobile phones, celular internet, facebook, google, digital money... these reached third world farmers fast, anywehre from a a couple of decades to a couple of years. That is democracratic in the "everyone gets it." sense
Another definiton is a sort of capitalist/liberal one. The internet was a democratic latform in terms of economic opportunity. Internet age companies were mostly newly founded ones. The wins did not go to pre-existing companies, leveraging their preexisting size and power. Rather, tiny newcomers managed to compete and win against large established companies. The proverbial "guys in the basement" taking on billion $ companies. This wil seem democratic, to those with a certain worldview.
It's hard to say this has stopped, but it is certainly different. The new generation of internet companeis are the current oligopolies, even oligarchies. Cellular internet is reaching people without mains electricity, but often the internet consists of just FB, who have basically purchased an exclusive monopoly.
Last (and probably most important) is freedom of information, citizen journalisand other related aspects of democracy that communication technology advanced. If you want to criticise a regime, no one can stop you.
These democratizing features land squarely in the middle of the liberal worldview, and excite all sorts of grand expectations. Freedom of thought, speech, press, conscience, association.... The rights of man and the basis of a free society & liberal democracy, free market or otherwise.
I think liberals (including me) believed that a free infromation would be a blow to despotry. This, I think, has proved false. These freedoms (in practice, but not theory) don't seem to lead to anything in particular.
Disilussionment is ongoing. We have twitter mobs, clickbait, fake news, paid trolls and info bubbles... Facebook controls the media people get, and the data that makes this useful. Centralisation is worse than before. Exclusive access to data is becoming a force to be reckoned with, and all the power naturally flows to the largest companies.
Despots needed to adapt, but those who do end up even more powerful than before. Take Russia, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia as examples. It's true that they can't control information anymore. If you want to read an article painting the leader in bad light, you can. But, they can influence what most people hear. They can censor sites, and 90% of people won't bother finding workarounds. They can troll opposition views, and make any issue seem like an open debate.
The game is no longer about locking out competing politics. It's about winning public opinion in an uneven debate, with tools at your disposal that the opposition does not have. Instead of a "tank vs knife" dynamic with their opposition, they've had to settle on a "gun vs knife" dynamic. It keeps them sharp, but doesn't really threaten regime stability.
My conclusion is the old banal cliche. Regardless of the starting point, technology is what people do with it. A technology is neither despotic or democratic.
If this were strictly limited to 'matching terrorists and murderers faces out in public' - then I think some kind of argument could be made. But this goes way, way beyond that.
You know what would be better? A system where people are raised to be conscientious, responsible and fair - so you don't need to monitor them all day and night. It works pretty well in many places.
Even if you put all the privacy and social implications aside - I really don't think anyone in my neighbourhood would think that all of this would actually create a more peaceful neighbourhood or create better social outcomes at all. So it's like 'all the dystopian stuff' without really a lot of upside.
Not at all.