China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West
Comment of the Day

December 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West

This article from the New York Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs.

In the long term, experts say, it may even be possible for the Communist government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.

Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China’s Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples in Xinjiang.

Eoin Treacy's view

This article from the Wall Street Journal details how the capturing facial recognition data is now mandatory when purchasing a new phone. Here is a section:

The new regulation gives the Chinese state, which backs the country’s three main telecom providers, the ability to better track people based on ethnicity and other factors, said Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based managing director at China Market Research Group.

When the ultimate aim of supporting technological innovation is control rather than profit then the realm of the possible takes on a completely different complexion. China is embracing facial recognition, citizen profiling and every facet of genetic engineering as part of the Communist Party’s clear intention to retain control over the population for as long as possible. The ultimate aim of communist/fascist regimes of this nature is to turn the population into crowds of automatons with no personal unsanctioned wants or desires.

The willingness of the Party to run roughshod over property rights and planning laws in pursuit of infrastructure development now finds a new home in the no holes barred pursuit of technological tools to further tyranny.

The significant investment underway in developing swine flu-immune pigs is one example. The announcement earlier this year that babies were born with genes edited purported to make them immune to HIV, glossed over the fact the same gene has been linked to intelligence.

I have no doubt that if China is faced with a declining population and, lower economic growth as a result, there will be increased investment in test tube babies. A sheep foetus was grown in an artificial womb two years ago and brought to full term, so the technology already exists. The ultimate aim of synthetic biology is to synthesise complete human genome. 

The qualms many of us have about the rampant pace of technological advances and what that means for society and the welfare of the individual are completely irrelevant when moral/ethical considerations are subsumed to the will of the party. That suggests the major advances are likely to come from China because they have no barriers to innovation.

The Kraneshares China Healthcare ETF is currently steadying from the region of the trend mean.

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