Crippled ports. Paralyzed corporations. Frozen government agencies. How a single piece of code crashed the world.
Following up on my previous post about Reality vs Fiction: Dystopian Surveillance, Fast Company has an interesting article this morning titled Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the West is taking a slower, less obvious trajectory, but things like this are the early warning signs we should be paying attention to as we evaluate the merits of various technological innovations.
My current novel project, Prototype, explores the idea of what could happen when powerful technology companies are given almost unlimited control over a population of people.
Naturally, topics like China’s Social Credit System pique my interest as they are examples of near real-world implementations of some of the ideas and technology presented in the book, not to mention how those technologies could spiral out of control.
I came across this article on Wired in which the following quote caught my attention:
Why did this particular quote stand out? Because it’s the exact “testing” methodology used in my book. Sometimes reality really is stranger than fiction.
The west is taking a slower, less obvious approach. Rather than outright mandating the deployment of such surveillance technologies, government agencies are quietly implementing similar partnerships with private companies. In July, it was reported that Amazon had partnered with 200 law enforcement agencies to promote its home surveillance company Ring. This in exchange for access to a “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal.”
Some additional articles, if you’re interested:
- Wikipedia – Social Credit System
- Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras
- How China is Using “Social Credit Scores” to Reward and Punish Its Citizens
- China’s Chilling ‘Social Credit System’ Is Straight Out of Dystopian Sci-Fi, And It’s Already Switched On
- Leave No Dark Corner
- Black Mirror Episode (Nosedive)
- WSJ: Life Inside China’s Total Surveillance State (YouTube Video)
- State of Surveillance: Police, Privacy and Technology (YouTube Video)
- Amazon asks police to advertise Ring cameras as part of partnerships
- Amazon’s home security firm Ring reportedly has partnerships with 200 US police departments and critics say it’s dystopian
- BanFacialRecognition.com (Interactive map that includes police partnerships with surveillance companies)