Shall we have a Friday night dystopia? One is currently available:
But more important was its improvement of government’s response to contingencies, a capacity most valued by the Chinese authorities. In any given grid cell, not only were all fixed objects coded and positioned, but much more than that, any activities or contingencies, including cultural activities, public safety, criminal cases, mass protests, sensitive figures in terms of “stability maintenance” and their activities were all sorted and coded, with information about them being collected and reported all the time. Based on these data, sensors and wireless equipment such as surveillance cameras and wireless routers were deployed.
That’s live across much of China right now. It’s notable that charges laid against activists from the New Citizens Movement have been restricted to quasi-public order charges rather than overt ‘crimes’ of subversion that carry much heavier penalties. Since the grid system can be used to make life on the outside into a form of incarceration – or, in practical terms, outlawry – then the need for exemplary punishments tends to diminish. Also, you avoid all that embarrassment around Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Prizes, ‘Empty Chairs’ etc. This is maybe something that human rights orgs reporting on China need to be alert to.
Given China’s official support for research into the ‘internet of things’ I suppose the ultimate application of this system will come when critics of the government find that their refrigerators refuse to open and nothing comes out of the tap when they turn it on.