We have been harmonised

We Have Been Harmonised by Kai Strittmatter makes for uncomfortable reading. The book details the seemingly unstoppable slide towards the total surveillance state (or the 360 degree, 4D WiFi curtain, as I like to call our emerging omniscient open air prison reality), not just in the Communist Party of China’s China, but all over the world. In any ways the “AI arms race” is less about international competition, than it is about domestic control.

The following quotes stuck with me:

On winners taking all in the AI economy:

“Technology always benefits the side with the greater resources” ~ Bao Pu

On distraction as propaganda:

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” ~ Aldous Huxley

On not missing what you don’t know:

“People don’t feel like they are missing out. They are like the frog in the Chinese fable, who thinks his well is the whole world.” ~ We have been harmonised

“A well-frog cannot talk about the sea.” ~ Zhuangzi

How easily we can become slaves, and still be very contented with our fate.” ~ Lu Xun

On the panopticon state:

“The invisible authority, which sometimes praises and sometimes punishes, which has the power to crush a person and yet shows how generous it is by not crushing them… you can’t see it, but it can see you. At every moment, day and night. Which means that it might not be looking at you right now, but that doesn’t matter. You need only to know that it could fix its gaze on you at any time, and you will begin to monitor yourself.” ~ We have been harmonised

On rule by law and convenient catch 22’s

“In the end, the party decides who is trustworthy and who isn’t and why… anyone taking their petition all the way to Beijing is automatically classified as a Category D: dishonest trust-breaker.” ~ We have been harmonised

On the corruption trap and the race to the moral bottom:

“A sense of moral inferiority triggers a defensive reaction in people everywhere… studies have shown that when one person in a group does a right thing, morally speaking, they attract hatred rather than admiration from their peers.” ~ We have been harmonised

On the law and morality not even been on speaking terms (in the West, as well as the rest):

“Obama and his government defended the surveillance practices of their secret services with the argument that they were legal. That very fact should have been scandal enough.” ~ We have been harmonised

(Now add some fully automated surveillance money and see the future from the digital panopticon…

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