Andersen’s article raises attention to several issues on the topic of governmental control in China. First, it emphasizes the problem of technological progress being used against the civilian population. Next, it touches on the subject of freedom in China and the Chinese government gaining total control and surveillance over the population. The third issue discussed and covered in the article is China’s attempts to achieve supremacy in artificial intelligence.
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The article provides valuable insight into the reverse side of technological progress. Although now the world is getting familiar with the concept of security issues imposed by the widespread use of technological devices, in my experience, the familiarity is limited by acknowledging the danger of hacking activities. On the other hand, cyber-attacks from governmental sources targeted at preserving information or preventing the spread of information, familiar for journalists visiting China, present a different outlook on technological progress. Andersen points out that China is a perfect setting for an experiment in total surveillance because its population is highly active in the digital space (62). Perhaps, changing the digital setting to the real world and collectively following the trend for digital detox could help improve the situation for the population.
To illustrate the severity of the situation with governmental control in China, the author draws an example of Uighur people living in Xinjiang under total surveillance. Andersen points out that Uighurs’ case could be perceived as the most intensely surveilled population in history to the point of locating outside individuals in Uighur families (62). I find that the idea of the future distorted by the adverse use of technology is frequently discussed in mass media. Still, discussions are more focused on the fictional character of the problem in the distant future. Instead of focusing on possible consequences of future technologies, people should acknowledge the Chinese technological oppression of Uighurs which also features a harmful use of technologies and surveillance, designed initially to provide security and comfort.
Lastly, the author explains China’s potential to achieve supremacy in artificial intelligence. Regarding the issue, the author suggests that the United States has just several years before Chinese developments would reach the level of technological progress in the United States. In my opinion, the issue raises attention to the political differences between the two countries. While the United States maintained supremacy in artificial intelligence for years, there was no significant danger, as the United States does not perceive AI technologies as a source of power. Moreover, for years the United States managed to attract Chinese scientists and developers, unintentionally slowing down China’s progress in machine learning (Andersen 66). The Chinese government, on the other hand, perceives AI technologies as a source of political power. Thus, China’s supremacy in AI technologies could negatively affect the whole world. I suggest that raising awareness of the global population on the issue would lower trust in Chinese devices and developments and could potentially slow China’s progress to supremacy in artificial intelligence.
In conclusion, the article emphasized several vital issues related to freedom and population surveillance in China, the adverse use of technology, and the importance of AI supremacy. The author managed to convey vital ideas about the future concepts of society, politics, and freedom and their relation to technologies in a concise and intelligible way. The article provides a significant amount of information required to form an opinion on the issues.
Andersen, Ross. “When China Sees All” The Atlantic, 2020.