China: 500 Megapixel ‘Super Camera’ Identifies Thousands Instantly

Social Engineering is the plain objective of China’s massive surveillance industry, which should be expected in a nation run by Technocracy. This camera explodes surveillance to a new level. ⁃ TN Editor
 

Scientists have unveiled a 500 megapixel cloud camera system in China that they say is capable of capturing the facial details of each individual in a crowd of tens of thousands of people, raising fears facial recognition monitoring could soon reach a new level.

The camera, which was revealed at China’s International Industry Fair last week, was designed by Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The camera’s resolution is five times more detailed than the human eye, and it is also equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), facial recognition, real-time monitoring and cloud computing technology, designers say.

All this means it can detect and identify human faces or other objects and instantly find specific targets even in a crowded stadium, Xiaoyang Zeng, one of the scientists who worked on the new technology, explained to reporters at the exhibition display.

He said this device — dubbed the “super camera” by local media — can capture both still images and record video.

Australian freelance technology journalist Alex Kidman said the camera was technically feasible but there were potential difficulties.

“The challenge for a camera of this scope, especially in a cloud-led AI environment is the quantity of data that’s needed to shuffle around for identification; as you raise the detail level of each image as the Fudan University scientists have done, you seriously raise the size of the files — especially for video — a substantial amount,” Kidman said.

“The serious technical challenge — leaving privacy concerns aside for a second — is in uploading that data and parsing it in a sensible timeframe for the kinds of applications they’re talking about, especially wirelessly.”

The capacity of such a camera has also raised concerns about privacy in a country already criticised for heavily monitoring its citizens.

“The Party-state has massive databases of people’s images and the capability to connect them to their identity, so it isn’t inconceivable that technology like this is possible if not now then in the future,” Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the ABC.

Local media reported that the camera has received a mixed response from Chinese experts with some lauding the invention for its military and national security applications, while others voiced privacy concerns.

China’s social credit system

For the past few years, China has been developing a Social Credit System intended to be rolled out nationwide which assesses citizens and businesses by economic and social reputation.

Social credit is like a scorecard for each of China’s 1.4 billion citizens and millions of businesses.

Just this month, China announced plans to push ahead with a corporate ranking system that will affect 33 million companies.

The system for citizens is designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour by awarding the trustworthy and punishing the disobedient.

Top “citizen scores” can earn VIP treatment at hotels and airports, cheap loans and a fast track to the best universities and jobs.

Those with lower scores can be banned from travel, or barred from getting credit or government jobs.

The system is enforced by surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition, body scanning and geo-tracking to cast a constant gaze over citizens.

The new 500 megapixel camera could make that process much more efficient.

At the expo, Mr Zeng explained that while other cameras were capable of filming thousands of people at once in a wide frame, each face is represented by only a few pixels, which means “you couldn’t clearly see your targeted person at all”.

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Harris Poll: 49% Of Voters Support Universal Basic Income (UBI)

In a short eight month period, the approval figure went from 43% to 49%, a six point increase. Opposition likewise dropped six points. Only madness and total ignorance believes that there is a free lunch.

UBI is a direct descendant of 1930s Technocracy, which believed that everyone in society would receive a monthly stipend to cover living needs. ⁃ TN Editor

Support for universal basic income (UBI) is on the rise, according to a new Hill-HarrisX poll released on Wednesday.

The nationwide survey found that 49 percent of registered voters are in favor of a government-issued basic living stipend, which marks a 6-point spike compared to a similar survey in February.

Support for UBI remains particularly popular among young people. Seventy-two percent of those between the ages of 18 to 34 favor the idea.

But the proposal still isn’t as highly favored among older generations of Americans — only 26 percent of those 65 and older back a UBI program.

Democrats’ support for UBI increased from 54 percent to 66 percent, as did support among independents which ticked up to 48 percent.

Thirty percent of Republican respondents, meanwhile, said they would support a UBI plan.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has centered his outsider campaign on a version of universal basic income, which pledges to give every American adult $1,000 a month.

The entrepreneur has touted the plan as a way to tackle the rising threat of automation.

During his opening remarks at the third Democratic debate, Yang debuted a pilot program for his universal basic income plan, calling on Americans to enter a giveaway to become one of 10 families to receive $1,000 a month for a year.

Though Yang said that his campaign received more than 500,000 entries for the contest, the plan has generated some criticism from his fellow contenders, including top-tier candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Sanders told Hill.TV last month that while there is “no question” that automation will have a fundamental impact on Americans, he argued that “people want to work,” and to “be a productive member of society.”

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australia

‘C02 Is Plant Food’: Australian Group Signs Int’l Declaration Denying Global Warming

In typical climate-shaming manner, the Guardian first notes what this group did, they ridicules them for ‘denying climate science’, when in fact they are denying anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming.

Click to Download the Full List of 500 Signatories

TN Editor

 

A group of 75 Australian former and current business figures – including mining engineers and retired geologists – have signed on to an international declaration targeting the UN and the EU and claiming “there is no climate emergency” and that “CO2 is plant food”.

Several of the signatories to the group – which described itself as Clintel – have high-level links to conservative politics, industry and mining.

They include Hugh Morgan, a former president of the Business Council of Australia, and Ian Plimer, a director on Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill Holdings iron ore project.

The move was designed to coincide with the UN’s climate action summit and general assembly in New York.

Also signing the declaration is Dr Peter Ridd, the former James Cook University scientist who claims that devastating bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef are not driven by climate change.

Ridd was backed by Queensland’s beef and sugar cane industries to deliver a speaking tour in an attempt to undermine the science linking run-off from farms and poor water quality to coral declines. His views have helped force a Coalition-backed Senate inquiry into reef science.

The former chief scientist Ian Chubb compared Ridd’s efforts to the misinformation campaigns run by the tobacco industry on the impacts of cigarettes on public health.

The Clintel group describes itself as “a new, high-level global network of 500 prominent climate scientists and professionals” but it bears similarities to at least one previous network.

In an open letter addressed to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the UN’s chief climate negotiator, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, the group describes the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as “imagined”.

One “ambassador” of the group is a Queensland-based coalmining veteran, Viv Forbes. Another is the well-known British peer Christopher Monckton, who once likened the leading Australian economist and climate adviser Prof Ross Garnaut to a Nazi.

The letter repeats well-worn and long-debunked talking points on climate change that are contradicted by scientific institutions and academies around the world, as well as the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The letter says: “Scientists should openly address the uncertainties and exaggerations in their predictions of global warming, while politicians should dispassionately count the real benefits as well as the imagined costs of adaptation to global warming, and the real costs as well as the imagined benefits of mitigation.”

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killer robots

Microsoft Head Says Rise Of Killer Robots Is ‘Unstoppable’

A new global arms race? Forget nukes, it’s killer robots. Any nation or terrorist group with a screwdriver can join the melee to build killer robots. To the Technocrat mindset, it’s a much more efficient way to destroy things and kill people. ⁃ TN Editor
 

The rise of killer robots is now unstoppable and a new digital Geneva Convention is essential to protect the world from the growing threat they pose, according to the President of the world’s biggest technology company.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, said the use of ‘lethal autonomous weapon systems’ poses a host of new ethical questions which need to be considered by governments as a matter of urgency.

He said the rapidly advancing technology, in which flying, swimming or walking drones can be equipped with lethal weapons systems – missiles, bombs or guns – which could be programmed to operate entirely or partially autonomously, “ultimately will spread… to many countries”.

The US, China, Israel, South Korea, Russia and the UK are all developing weapon systems with a significant degree of autonomy in the critical functions of selecting and attacking targets.

The technology is a growing focus for many militaries because replacing troops with machines can make the decision to go to war easier.

But it remains unclear who is responsible for deaths or injuries caused by a machine – the developer, manufacturer, commander or the device itself.

Smith said killer robots must “not be allowed to decide on their own to engage in combat and who to kill” and argued that a new international convention needed to be drawn up to govern the use of the technology.

“The safety of civilians is at risk today. We need more urgent action, and we need it in the form of a digital Geneva Convention, rules that will protect civilians and soldiers.”

Speaking at the launch of his new book, Tools and Weapons, at the Microsoft store in London’s Oxford Circus, Smith said there was also a need for stricter international rules over the use of facial recognition technology and other emerging forms of artificial intelligence.

“There needs to be there needs to be a new law in this space, we need regulation in the world of facial recognition in order to protect against potential abuse.”

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Goldman Sachs: Driving Globalization With Global Warming Fears

Goldman Sachs is pitching its own services as the report concludes, “urban adaptation will likely need to draw on innovative sources of financing.” The global elite see only green (pun intended) by rebuilding everything on earth.  ⁃ TN Editor
 

Goldman Sachs released a report on the effect of climate change on cities around the world and the results made for grim reading.

The bank’s Global Markets Institute, led by Amanda Hindlian, warned of “significant” potential risks to the world’s largest cities, which are especially vulnerable to more frequent storms, higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and storm surges.

Cities generate about 80% of global GDP and are home to more than half of the world’s population, a share that Goldman says, citing the United Nations, is projected to reach two-thirds by 2050. About 40% of the global population lives within 100 kilometers of a coast, it says, and 1 in 10 live in areas less than 10 meters above sea level.

Goldman highlighted three cities which would be subject to those storm surges and in the future could face harmful flooding — New York, Tokyo, and Lagos. Miami, Alexandria, Dhaka, and Shanghai face major flood risks due to being less than 11 meters above sea level.

Goldman’s researchers said that when starting the study they took a broad consensus that human activity, namely emission of greenhouse gasses “is causing the earth to warm in ways that are affecting the climate.”

Natural ecosystems would be damaged, and risks to human health would rise, as well as pressures on food and drinking water.

Agriculture would also be massively affected: “Warmer temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns could reduce yields and nutritional quality as well change growing seasons and agricultural zones around the world.”

Goldman gave some fairly stark warnings about potential outcomes:

  • More frequent, more intense, and longer-lasting heatwaves. The consequences will affect human health, productivity, economic activity, and agriculture. “Higher surface temperatures could exacerbate the warming process by causing permafrost to melt, releasing further methane and CO2 into the atmosphere.”
  • Destructive weather events, including storms, winds, flooding and fires. It’s not just New York, Tokyo and Lagos. “Other major low-lying coastal or already flood-prone cities include Shanghai, Dhaka, Mumbai and Karachi – each of which has a population of 15 million people or more.”
  • Changing disease patterns. “Warmer temperatures could cause disease vectors to migrate from the tropics to regions where people have less immunity; this is true not only for viruses like malaria and dengue fever but also for water-borne and food-borne diseases.”
  • Shifting agricultural patterns and food shortages. “Livestock could be affected by higher temperatures and reduced water supplies. Ocean acidification is likely to put stress on aquatic populations and affect current fishing patterns. Some of these changes are already underway. Some climate scientists, for example, estimate that coral reefs will be all but extinct over the course of the century due to ocean acidification.”
  • Water. “Half of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas as soon as 2025,” Goldman notes, citing the World Health Orgnization. “Even in non-stressed areas, the quality of surface water could deteriorate as more rain and storms drive erosion and the release of toxins. These dynamics could affect everything from the availability of drinking water for people to a shortage of water for livestock and crops (with negative effects for the food supply) to decreases in hydroelectric power generation.”

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globalization

The Viral Globalization Of AI Surveillance

The hottest export in the world, right behind arms and weaponry, is AI surveillance technology. Corporations and governments want to sell it, and everyone else wants it. The industry has gone viral, infecting the whole planet. ⁃ TN Editor
 

They all do it: corporations, regimes, authorities.  They all have the same reasons: efficiency, serviceability, profitability, all under the umbrella term of “security”.  Call it surveillance, or call it monitoring the global citizenry; it all comes down to the same thing.  You are being watched for your own good, and such instances should be regarded as a norm.

Given the weaknesses of international law and the general hiccupping that accompanies efforts to formulate a global right to privacy, few such restrictions, or problems, preoccupy those in surveillance.  The entire business is burgeoning, a viral complex that does not risk any abatement.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has released an unnerving report confirming that fact, though irritatingly using an index in doing so.  Its focus is Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.  A definition of sorts is offered for AI, being “an integrated system that incorporates information acquisition objectives, logical reasoning principles, and self-correction capacities.”

When stated like that, the whole matter seems benign.  Machine learning, for instance, “analyses a large amount of information in order to discern a pattern to explain the current data and predict future uses.”

There are several perturbing highlights supplied by the report’s author, Steven Feldstein.  The relationship between military expenditure and states’ use of AI surveillance systems is noted, with “forty of the world’s top fifty military spending countries (based on cumulative military expenditures) also [using] AI surveillance technology.”  Across 176 countries, data gathered since 2017 shows that AI surveillance technologies are not merely good domestic fare but a thriving export business.

The ideological bent of the regime in question is no bar to the use of such surveillance.  Liberal democracies are noted as major users, with 51 percent of “advanced democracies” doing so.  That number, interestingly enough, is less than “closed autocratic states” (37 percent); “electoral autocratic/competitive autocratic states” (41 percent) and “electoral democracies/illiberal democracies” (41 percent).  The political taxonomist risks drowning in minutiae on this point, but the chilling reality stands out: all states are addicted to diets of AI surveillance technologies.

Feldstein makes the fairly truistic point that “autocratic and semi-autocratic” states so happen to abuse AI surveillance more “than governments in liberal democracies” but the comparisons tend to breakdown in the global race for technological superiority.  Russia, China and Saudi Arabia are singled out as “exploiting AI technology for mass surveillance purposes” but all states seek the Holy Grail of mass, preferably warrantless surveillance.  Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 did more than anything else to scupper the quaint notion that those who profess safeguards and freedoms are necessarily aware about the runaway trends of their security establishment.

The corporation-state nexus is indispensable to global surveillance, a symbiotic relationship that resists regulation and principle.  This has the added effect of destroying any credible distinction between a state supposedly more compliant with human rights standards, and those that are not.  The common thread, as ever, is the technology company.  As Feldstein notes, in addition to China, “companies based in liberal democracies – for example, Germany, France, Israel, Japan, South Korea, the UK, the United States – are actively selling sophisticated equipment to unsavoury regimes.”

These trends are far from new.  In 1995, Privacy International published a report with the unmistakable title Big Brother Incorporated, an overview of surveillance technology that has come to be aptly known as the Repression Trade.  “Much of this technology is used to track the activities of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, student leaders, minorities, trade union leaders, and political opponents.”

Corporations with no particular allegiance except to profit and shareholders, such as British computer firm ICL (International Computers Limited) were identified as key designers behind the South African automated Passbook system, Apartheid’s stand out signature.  In the 1980s, the Israeli company Tadiran, well in keeping with a rich tradition of the Repression Trade, supplied the murderous Guatemalan policy with computerised death lists in their “pacification” efforts.

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