China’s New Surveillance Tech Monitors Workers’ Brainwaves

China’s New Surveillance Tech Monitors Workers’ Brainwaves


It’s safe to say that our private information
isn’t private anymore. New technologies are collecting data to be
sold or shared between companies… in sometimes questionable ways. Y’all really think that Black Mirror isn’t
gonna happen? Well, it’s not GOING to happen. It’s already happening. Let’s start in China, where employers are
monitoring their employees’ brain waves. Oh yeah, you heard that right, monitoring
their brain waves. To be clear, they are not attempting to read
the workers’ thoughts, but their emotions. Factories, state-owned enterprises, and sections
of the Chinese military are placing wireless sensors in employees’ hats that record and
transmit data similar to an electroencephalogram, or EEG. By analyzing the incoming sensor data, AI
models can detect anomalies that might indicate a spike in anger, depression, or anxiety. This system is said to help employers find
out who’s stressed, modulate break times, and increase productivity… in turn spiking
company profits by an estimated two billion yuan since 2014. This tech is being used elsewhere too, like
assessing fatigue in high-speed train drivers and monitoring patients in hospitals. Sure, it would be dope to find out if your
significant other is really fine when they say “I’m fine” after a fight. But, how do you regulate something like this? If emotional data is mineable, what happens
if companies nefariously use it to abuse their power? I listen to a lot of SZA and Drake — I’m
emotional! Please don’t use my emotions against me. China has a Social Credit score: a clout score
based on your criminal record, donations to charity, loyalty to political parties, how
many video games you buy, and even your friends’ social credit scores. This is just like Black Mirror Series three’s
Nosedive, where everyone has a score based on all social interactions. The Chinese government claims it’s trying
to build “trust” with this score, but its implications can be more sinister. For instance, in twenty-sixteen, a man was
denied a plane ticket because a judge deemed a court apology “insincere” and placed
him on a blacklist, tanking his score. “Insincerity” is hella subjective, so
how would we regulate for everyone’s opinions? Finally, China is using all this information
to make you into a precog: they’re literally trying to predict political instability using
feeds from surveillance cameras, phone usage, travel records and religious orientation. Extrapolating the negative consequences, this
taps into personal data and can unfairly target groups based on prejudice, specifically the
Uyghur, and other predominantly Muslim populations. And let’s just say you protest this state-sponsored
measure. That affects your social credit score, which
can then deny you things like plane tickets and jobs, keeping you trapped by the system. Tracking every arena –– personal, professional,
recreational, political, et cetera, –– is dangerous, especially in the United States,
where we value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Like we don’t already know that the government
is in our webcams, Siris, and Alexa! …Thanks. It’s pretty spooky to think about how systemic
issues we’re already grappling pretty hard with as a society, such as all these biases…
could be magnified by technology we’ve already developed. America has a lot to deal with right now,
so maybe we should sit this tech out. All these tools can have a prosocial end goal,
but it’s too soon to tell if the ends justify the means. Data will continue to be collected on us,
that’s for sure. But, with few regulatory systems in place,
we gotta keep an eye on this new tech that’s already just chillin’ here, and stop pretending
that this is all happening in some distant dystopian future. Not only is AI going to run the world someday,
but it’s already being used to predict the next global pandemic. Wanna find out how? Bet you do. Check out this video right here. Thanks for watching, subscribe to Seeker,
and come back for new videos every day so you can watch your computer as much as it’s
watching you.

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