Among the hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras installed in China, there are more than 200 million Skynet surveillance systems controlled by the public security department, which are located in various commercial districts, residential areas and highways. Almost every two Chinese people are watched by a surveillance camera. And if calculated according to the urban population, the Chinese in the city probably have more surveillance cameras on top of each person's head.
Why does China install so many surveillance cameras? The US Center for Strategic and International Studies reported in July this year that artificial intelligence has become an effective tool for China to maintain stability. Statistics found that where AI surveillance technology was purchased, group incidents decreased.
For years, China has been developing artificial intelligence technology, including a facial recognition system that monitors everyone's every move and can also predict what someone might do next and whether they pose a threat to the government.
China has built a comprehensive urban surveillance network not only for maintaining law and order, but also for monitoring and suppressing dissidents and human rights activists, including Xinjiang Uyghurs and ethnic minorities such as Tibet and Inner Mongolia.
Joel Wuthnow, a senior fellow at the Center for Chinese Military Affairs at the National Institute of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, pointed out that China's "smart city program" is related to strict monitoring of people, in addition to enabling law enforcement, paramilitary and domestic security services benefit.
Moreover, China's enthusiasm and application of AI technology is not limited to domestic stability maintenance. Ryan Fedasiuk, a researcher at the Center for Security and Emerging Technologies at Georgetown University in the United States, said artificial intelligence is more meaningful to the Chinese military.
In 2019, the Ministry of National Defense of China published a related article, pointing out that military intelligence is becoming a powerful driving force for a new round of military reform after mechanization and informatization. "Unmanned equipment will become the main body of the future. In the future, unmanned systems will shift from auxiliary operations to replacement operations, completing many high-risk combat operations that are not suitable for human execution."