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Robots Weekly 🤖: Big Brother (Really) Is Watching 👀

I’ve written about China before (a few times, it might be an obsession), so this post is going to pick up where those left off with little in the way of background. If you feel lost, read the archives. (Internal linking FTW! 🙌)

China is taking their social credit system to the next level and doxxing debtors. Who needs hackers when you have the government? 😳

This Chinese app reportedly maps nearby debtors to get you to shame them

This is the scary potential future of mixing big data, AI, and authoritarianism to scale public shame to a national (and maybe global?) level to get everyone to toe the party line.

quote from George Orwell's 1984

But wait, there’s more! The darling unicorn of AI startups has a system that can ingest video streams from up to 100,000 cameras simultaneously and “automatically tag and keep track of individuals.” Surveillance at scale! What a time to be alive. 🎥

This is the new iteration of fake news, trying to determine if something is the plot for a dystopic sci-fi story or actually happening in China. 🇨🇳

quote from George Orwell's 1984

Soon even the last part of this quote might seem quaint and naive. Thanks to Elon Musk. 🧠

And who needs a mood ring when an AI system can analyze your face and tell you how you’re feeling? And how might this get incorporated into a social credit system and award or demerit you points based on your emotional state and determined reactions to pro-party stimuli? ↕️

quote from George Orwell's 1984

Your participation is compulsory and appreciated.

This is one way to force people to participate in “smart” surveillance measures, the other is to give people some benefits in exchange for being tracked all the time. Either way, governments are finding ways to force people into being watched over by Big Brother. 🚨

quote from George Orwell's 1984

Yeah, darkness, about that…. Maybe don’t count on that as cover for very long. (But get really excited about better photos with your phone camera) 📸

Okay computer, bug my phone. Biometrics + AI = fun new ways to surveil. 🙊

Prisons Across the U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases of Incarcerated People’s Voice Prints

Did not know this:

“In recent years, voice recognition technology has come to be associated with consumer offerings, like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, but the technology was originally developed for military and intelligence applications. Over a decade ago, as The Intercept reported, U.S. intelligence agencies were using voice recognition programs to identify the voices of top Al Qaeda officials in their online audio postings.”

quote from George Orwell's 1984

To lighten the mood a little bit as we near the end, this tech can also be used to help provide you a nice beverage without you having to make a decision. Hooray for crazy Japanese vending machines! 🗾

Oh yeah, these can also be used to deliver targeted, personalized advertising to people who walk past based on the facial recognition. Would you like a commercial with your Coke? 🎯

This would be a really good fear mongering post if that were my goal, but it’s not. It’s not AI that I’m scared of, it’s people. AI is just a (very powerful) tool. We’re still our own worst enemies. 🤦

quote from George Orwell's 1984


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Thanks to Book Riot for collecting the Orwell quotes and making my life easy.