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Optimism on how successful a 1984-style future could be

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Based on a *topia described by this ABC article on China:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-18/china-social-credit-a-model-citizen-in-a-digital-dictatorship/10200278

Ignoring the human issues and focusing instead on the technical:  I can't see any of this working for more than a few years at large scale.  Everything I know about how large IT projects are handled tells me that:

  • It's impossible to process a town's worth of data, let alone a whole country
    • Neural networks (and similar) are constantly being shown to be simultaneously impressive and dumb (pretty links at bottom of post).  One day we find a way of making them generate more beautiful images, the next we find a few bits of black tape on a stop sign confuse them to hell.
    • Humans can't possibly monitor all of this, limiting the system to trying to follow specific individuals.
  • Management for projects this big is too separated from the technical issues.
    • Backups will fail or not exist where they should.
    • Data will get horribly disorganised.
    • Logic/systems will be discovered to be doing completely stupid and arbitrary things.
    • Arbitrary and stupid decisions will be made by management to try and fix things.
    • Vendors will be brought in.  Massive delays, blame gets thrown everywhere.
    • Oracle or IBM will get involved, and then you know things can only go downhill from here.
  • Systems this big are impossible to secure
    • You can't prove every camera/info source to be authentic.  Video streams can be faked, for example.
    • A large chunk of the world will be trying break or manipulate your system to their advantage
    • A market will be created for people that can improve your standing within the system using technical exploits.
  • Exceptions will have to be made
    • Politicians, people of power, etc. 
    • Keeping this socially acceptable OR a secret will be hard/impossible in the long term.

Any thoughts?  I'd really like to get the issues ironed out before we hit production.

 

Aside: some fun stuff about neural networks (no maths) including some practical examples of their limitations:

 

 

Edited by Veyrdite

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I fully expect either a revolution or civil war to erupt in China in the next few decades... That, or they will end up with a completely enslaved and brainwashed populace, and mostly die out. (they're already well on their way to dying out because of the 1-child policy)

 

As for the technical side, I think you covered it pretty well. Can't work with existing technology, or any experimental/theoretical that could be mass produced inside of 50 years.

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16 hours ago, BTGBullseye said:

I fully expect either a revolution or civil war to erupt in China in the next few decades... That, or they will end up with a completely enslaved and brainwashed populace, and mostly die out. (they're already well on their way to dying out because of the 1-child policy)

Are you dense? Or just completely out of touch with reality?

1. The odds of anything of the sort happening are practically nil, because it's authoritarian enough to make revolution or civil war infeasible at best, but not authoritarian to the point of tensions building between citizen and state.

2. China has the highest population in the world, it would take a literal mass extinction event for the Chinese people to "die out" within the century.

3. The one-child policy hasn't been a thing for nearly three years. There's a new population planning policy in place and the birth rate in China shows no sign of slowing.

16 hours ago, BTGBullseye said:

As for the technical side, I think you covered it pretty well. Can't work with existing technology, or any experimental/theoretical that could be mass produced inside of 50 years.

We're arguably living under a 1984-style system right now, we just don't like to admit it. It's not a matter of technology, it's a matter of how the narrative is driven. For example, the majority of people living in the U.S. are wholly convinced that not only does social privilege as a concept not exist, but it was made up to marginalize """"normal"""" people. This is right-wing narrative and it honestly pushes itself with how many people on the right believe it and how many people in the center/center-left are open to believing it, the narrative in itself is divisive as all it serves to do is make underprivileged people fight amongst themselves over a petty technicality.

Spoiler

and you'd honestly be proving my point by trying to tell me privilege isn't real as well, that's something I wholeheartedly expect from you.

 

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China does not have the highest population anymore... That's India. Also, just because the policy changed 3 years ago, doesn't change the fact that it's seriously impacting their population, and will continue to do so for 40+ years.

 

And finally, why did you start off with an insult instead of just presenting your argument? You don't know me, or my knowledgebase, you don't know my sources of information, so why do you assume all of it is rooted in a lack of intellect or knowledge?

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5 minutes ago, BTGBullseye said:

China does not have the highest population anymore... That's India.

Nope, China's still got the highest and India isn't expected to overtake them for another few years.

7 minutes ago, BTGBullseye said:

Also, just because the policy changed 3 years ago, doesn't change the fact that it's seriously impacting their population, and will continue to do so for 40+ years.

You're really overestimating the power the policy has had or could have had on a population currently approaching 1.4 billion. The point remains: the policy doesn't exist anymore and it would take nothing short of a mass extinction event to dramatically impact China's population.

10 minutes ago, BTGBullseye said:

And finally, why did you start off with an insult instead of just presenting your argument? You don't know me, or my knowledgebase, you don't know my sources of information, so why do you assume all of it is rooted in a lack of intellect or knowledge?

I didn't present an argument, I presented a correction. Much of what you've claimed is subjective but highly improbable at best, objectively incorrect at worst.

It doesn't matter where you get your information, or what you claim to "know", a lot of what you say and a lot of what you have said in the past is incorrect so you can try to explain that yourself, but I'm drawing pretty safe conclusions here I think.

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Back to the topic of this thread, I don't think we even know if it is one unified system or multiple ones run by both the government and private companies. I'm not really sure which one would be more of a mess, but I guess that only time will tell.

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On 10/31/2018 at 4:00 PM, ekket said:

Back to the topic of this thread, I don't think we even know if it is one unified system or multiple ones run by both the government and private companies. I'm not really sure which one would be more of a mess, but I guess that only time will tell. 


This brings up the interesting topic of how the government and private systems will interact.

 

We're seeing a bit of everything at the moment.  In some places governments are working to try and reduce the data-collecting powers of big companies.  In most they are utilising these companies to help them.

 

Competition between governments and companies is where this is going to get interesting.  Where companies outright challenge the sovereignty of countries.  Subversion of power through new indirect methods.  There are so many directions this can go, and I expect we're going to see a bit of everything in different countries across the planet.

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On 11/2/2018 at 1:44 PM, Veyrdite said:

 

Competition between governments and companies is where this is going to get interesting.  Where companies outright challenge the sovereignty of countries.  Subversion of power through new indirect methods.  There are so many directions this can go, and I expect we're going to see a bit of everything in different countries across the planet.

 

Well it'll be interesting until the companies remember that they don't have armies and can't afford to keep them.

 

Remember that time when Hudson's Bay Company and the Dutch East India Company practically controlled a sizable percentage of the world? Remember how having to run militias to keep things running bankrupted them?  HBC still is around but it's getting choked out by Walmart and Amazon. And it doesn't own 75% of Canada any more.

 

I think it's just an element of this epoch's hubris to think that "we've finally arrived at the perfect kind of power for a country: the soverign nation-state". Don't kid yourself. Governments, like websites, celebrities and so many artists, are faking it until they make it. And given time and winds of change, people will see how thin the veneer was between "stable" and "shambling wreck". And then the idea of the country will be replaced with something new again. I'll give it a century. And heck, I might even get to live to see it.

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