Andrew Browne writing for the WSJ (President Uses Big Data to Tighten Big Brother’s Grip, 10/17/2017) sheds light on the Chinese State use of Big Data and AI for social and economic control
AI watchers should be taking note of the ways that China is using technology to manage their society and economy. Employing AI on a massive level potentially puts the world economy at risk of the technology outpacing the ability to understand it and intervene if necessary. It could also be speculated that the use of such sophisticated systems would provide a guise under which leaders could instigate huge manipulations.
Also of note was the mention of the Chinese government appropriating equity stakes and decision making powers in the largest tech companies. The fact that tech investors are and will continue to reap enormous wealth from the proliferation of AI technologies begs the question of how to properly regulate this wealth creation if the impact of the technology is going to stress and disrupt existing social, economic and political institutions. Perhaps this is where the Chinese are heading: using state control of the tech industries to regulate the effects of technology disruption on their social order.
Change is upon us and the clock is ticking The impact of AI is already being felt as the tech giants and governments negotiate the playing field. We are at a particularly vulnerable time as we begin to feel the impact of change and the promised benefits are still in a distant and uncertain future.