Researchers in eastern China’s Anhui province say they have developed a device that can use facial scans to determine loyalty to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
A short video uploaded to the Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center’s Weibo account on June 30 said the project was an example of “artificial intelligence enabling party formation.”
The Weibo post was later deleted, but a text digest of the video, produced in honor of the CCP’s July 1 anniversary, remained available on the Internet’s archives Monday.
Ensuring the quality of party members’ activities is becoming an issue that needs to be coordinated.
“This equipment is a kind of smart ideology, using AI technology to extract and integrate facial expressions, EEG measurements and skin conductance…making it possible to fix the levels of concentration, recognition and mastery of ideological and political education. to better understand its effectiveness,” the description reads.
“It can provide real data for organizers of ideological and political education so that they can continue to improve their teaching methods and enrich the content,” it said.
It said the device relies on “emotionally intelligent computing,” among other methods, to measure the extent to which subjects “are grateful to the CCP, do what it says and follow its lead.”
In the video, as reported by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper, a researcher in white walks into a room and sits in front of a screen to take a test, before receiving a test score and on-screen analysis.
Before the post was removed, some comments labeled the idea as “high-tech brainwashing,” while others referred to George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian novel and said “Big Brother” would be watching them.
Anhui sociologist Song Da’an said the post had been removed due to political sensitivity.
“Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center has used biotechnology to measure the loyalty of party members and cadres,” Song said. “This shows that the CCP is becoming more and more totalitarian.”
“In the logic of a totalitarian society, more and more emphasis is placed on refining manageability, and party members are seen as scoundrels [that could come loose] and possibly cause damage; they are the enemy of the machine,” he said.
Song said the technology was based on the polygraph used by security forces to detect lies, which itself was based on Swiss psychiatrist CG Jung’s word association experiments.
“They are using this technology to treat all party members as potential anti-CCP agents,” he said. “The use of this technology on officials shows the appalling state of affairs within the ranks of the party.”
A Jiangxi-based current affairs commentator nicknamed Zhang agreed.
“They are consolidating their power to better hold it,” Zhang said. “That’s what these people want: to solidify their position.”
“Would a regime that served the people fear losing political power?”
A phone call to the Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center on Monday resulted in a recorded message that read “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 watch students who were not paying attention or fell asleep in class, official media reported.
The new system on the Hangzhou No. 11 High School 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 surveillance systems that could be rolled out elsewhere as part of the development of “smart campuses,” the paper said.
“The system can perform statistical analysis on student behavior and expressions in the classroom and provide timely feedback on abnormal behavior,” the report said.
Data collected by the system is analyzed by the software, and overly inattentive or sleepy behavior will prompt the teacher to admonish the offender, it said.
The data could also be used to evaluate teacher performance in the classroom, the report said.
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.