Books Magazine

Links 26/4/18

Posted on the 26 April 2018 by Cathy Leaves @cathyleaves
Politics: 
More about the Gibsonian combination of cutting edge technology in an authoritarian polity willing to use it to its advantage: China is developing a "Social Credit System" that assigns a rating to each of its citizens. 
"It includes everything from rankings calculated by online payment providers to scores doled out by neighborhoods or companies. High-flyers receive perks such as discounts on heating bills and favorable bank loans, while bad debtors cannot buy high-speed train or plane tickets." 
Foreign Policy: Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory, April 3, 2018
This is possible in a country where companies like SenseTime provide both surveillance and social media companies with its facial recognition software. 
Elsewhere, Peter Thiel's Palantir provides some of the massive data it collects and mines to law enforcement - and things could get worse in the future: 
As Palantir tries to court corporate customers as a more conventional software company, fewer forward-deployed engineers will mean fewer human decisions. Sensitive questions, such as how deeply to pry into people’s lives, will be answered increasingly by artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms. The small team of Privacy and Civil Liberties engineers could find themselves even less influential, as the urge for omnipotence among clients overwhelms any self-imposed restraints. 
Bloomberg: Palantir Knows Everything About You, April 19, 2018

Pop Culture: 
Amazon will be adapting William Gibson's The Peripheral into a television series (attached to the project are Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who've worked with similar subject matter in Person of Interest and Westworld). 
An essay about how East Asian narratives differ from Western narratives with regards to content and style. 
Not really sure yet how I feel about this essay about how the rise of algorithms to provide us with suggestions for future purchases affect our relationship to style and taste (and if we should just surrender both to AIs and free up space for loftier goals), but there are some interesting ideas here. 
Roxane Gay interviews Michelle Dean about Sharp

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