China’s alarming AI surveillance of Muslims should wake us up


Tight control of civilian populations is the cardinal rule of authoritarian regimes, yet the sheer scale and complexity of those populations makes control difficult. Now, artificial intelligence has made civilian surveillance far easier, and far more invasive. AI is rapidly becoming the new best friend of dictators everywhere.

The most sweeping and stifling surveillance program in human history is being employed against the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in northwestern China. A million Uighurs, about 10 percent of their total population, are held captive in what Chinese authorities call “reeducation and training” camps. Uighurs have been sent to the camps for a wide variety of infractions, including for religious practices such as reading the Koran or being caught with religious content on their phones.

At the camps, Uighurs are required to listen to hours upon hours of Communist Party propaganda and engage in rigorous self-criticism. Reporting earlier this year in the Independent said Uighur inmates have allegedly “been tortured, forced to consume pork and alcohol, and ordered to renounce their religion.” Other Uighurs allegedly have “disappeared” into the camps.

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Categories: Asia, China, Muslims, Technology

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