China’s state-run Global Times boasted in an article on Thursday that Chinese people are increasingly becoming accustomed to the use of “emotion recognition technology,” artificial intelligence that allows the government to track human feelings, as part of everyday life.
The Global Times illustrated the usefulness of this technology with an example in which police arrest passengers of a car after using artificial intelligence to discover drugs in their car. “Emotion recognition technology” tells the officers that the passengers are more nervous than the average person at a checkpoint, which they use as an excuse to search the car.
The notoriously repressive Communist Party is allegedly applying “emotional recognition technology” in “various fields including health, anti-terrorism, and urban security,” according to the Global Times.
The development of this technology to criminalize feelings follows increasingly alarming developments in Chinese law enforcement, most recently the revelation that Chinese technology giant Huawei is developing facial recognition technology that can identify a person’s ethnicity, making it easier for Chinese police to persecute members of the Uyghur ethnic minority. Multiple governments around the world, including the current and past administration of the United States, have accused China of committing genocide against the Uyghur people.
The Communist Party has built over 1,000 concentration camps in the Uyghurs’ native region, Xinjiang, where survivors say they were forced into indoctrination, slavery, and subject to rape and torture. Of particular concern are reports that China is systematically sterilizing Uyghur women against their will to eliminate the ethnic group, a practice specifically listed in the definition of genocide.