One Nation Under CCTV

Some cool machining china images:

One Nation Under CCTV

Image by tj.blackwell
“What kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. Something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons.” George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four

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It’s been a while since I opened up Photoshop for a bit of cheeky image editing, so here’s the latest experimental result! This one depicts a very British dystopia. George Orwell remains an infinitely quotable chap for this sort of subject, and I highly recommend his thought-provoking literary works. ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ was a truly visionary undertaking – it foreshadowed the concept of a surveillance society long before the development of modern day technologies that would make it all possible.

Britain is leading the world when it comes to CCTV. It has one and a half times as many surveillance cameras as communist China. The exact number of them in the UK is not known but an estimate in 2002 counted the figure at well over four million. The methodology of collecting such statistics is rather vague but reasonable research suggests that our country now has one camera for every 14 people.

The security infrastructure being created, whilst valid in many respects, presents a plethora of worrying possibilities. The coupling of CCTV cameras with facial recognition algorithms that track people through crowds, read registration plates and log all this data for future use is handy for current civil enforcement but leaves the door open for the state of the future to have profound levels of control over society.

(Thanks go to Richard Dawkins and the editors of Boing Boing for using the image to illustrate this article and sending lots of visitors here as a result.)

Ai Weiwei in the Machine China

Image by jurvetson
An untouched photo of the Chinese artist, spontaneously colored by the asynchronous data feed coming from afar.

After doing the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the 2008 Olympics, he has become critical of the Chinese government and freedom of speech. His name has become a forbidden search term domestically. His studio was bulldozed last month.

He connected from an anonymous location in China and shared video footage of censored scenes and the pervasive surveillance of his activities.

silk

Image by SJ photography
extracting silk from cocoon by machine, cocoons are floating in warm water; taken from a silk factory in china

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