Researchers in eastern China’s Anhui province say they have developed a device that can determine loyalty to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) using facial scanners.
A short video uploaded to Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center’s Weibo account on June 30 said the project was an example of “artificial intelligence empowering party building.”
The Weibo post was later deleted, but a text summary of the video, produced in honor of the CCP’s July 1 anniversary, remained available on the Internet Archive on Monday.
“Guaranteeing the quality of the activities of party members becomes a problem requiring coordination”, indicates the text.
“This equipment is a kind of smart ideology, using AI technology to extract and integrate facial expressions, EEG readings and skin conductivity … to determine levels of concentration, recognition and mastery of ideological and political education to better understand its effectiveness,” the description reads.
“It can provide real data to organizers of ideological and political education, so that they can continue to improve their education methods and enrich the content,” he said.
He said the device relies on “emotionally intelligent computing,” among other methods, to measure how well subjects “feel grateful to the CCP, do as it tells them, and follow its example.” .
In the video, as reported by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper, a researcher in white walks into a room and sits down in front of a screen to take a test, before receiving a test result and on-screen analysis. .
Before the post was deleted, some comments called the idea ‘high-tech brainwashing’, while others referenced George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian novel, saying ‘Big Brother’ would be watching them.
Anhui-based sociologist Song Da’an said the post was removed due to his political sensitivity.
“The National Comprehensive Science Center in Hefei used biotechnology to measure the loyalty of party members and cadres,” Song said. “It shows that the CCP is becoming more and more totalitarian.”
“In the logic of a totalitarian society, the emphasis is increasingly on the refinement of controllability, and party members are seen as vis [that could come loose] and potentially cause damage; they are the enemy of the machine,” he said.
Song said the technology was based on the polygraph, used by security services to detect lying, which was itself based on Swiss psychiatrist CG Jung’s word association experiments.
“They use this technology to treat all party members as potential anti-CCP agents,” he said. “The use of these technologies on officials demonstrates the deplorable situation within the ranks of the party.”
A Jiangxi-based news commentator named Zhang agreed.
“They are consolidating their power to hold it better,” Zhang said. “That’s what these people want; to consolidate their position.”
“Would a regime at the service of the people be afraid of losing political power?
A call to the Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center on Monday resulted in a recorded message saying “Sorry, the person you called is not authorized to take your call. Goodbye.”
In 2018, authorities in Zhejiang province installed an “all-seeing eye” in a high school classroom to spot students who were not paying attention or falling asleep in class, state media reported.
Hangzhou No. 11 High School’s new system links a surveillance camera to facial recognition software that tracks students’ movements and facial expressions, according to the Zhejiang Daily newspaper.
The technology was part of a trial of software and monitoring systems that could be deployed elsewhere as part of the development of “smart campuses”, according to the newspaper.
“The system … can perform statistical analysis of student behaviors and expressions in the classroom and provide rapid feedback on abnormal behaviors,” the report said.
The data collected by the system will be analyzed by the software, and overly inattentive or sleepy behavior will prompt the teacher to warn the offender, he said.
The data could also be used to assess teacher performance in the classroom, the report says.
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.