Researchers at China’s Comprehensive National Science Center in Hefei claimed to have developed “mind-reading” artificial intelligence capable of measuring citizens’ loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), The Sunday Times UK first reported.
In a now-deleted video and article, the institute said the software could measure party members’ reactions to “thought and political education” by analyzing facial expressions and brain waves, according to The Times.
The results can then be used to “further solidify their confidence and determination to be grateful to the party, listen to the party, and follow the party,” the researchers said, per the report. The post was taken down following public outcry from Chinese citizens, according to a VOA article published Saturday.
Dr. Lance B. Eliot, an AI and machine learning expert, wrote in Forbes last week that without knowing the specifics of the research study, it’s impossible to prove the validity of the institute’s claims.
“This is certainly not the very first time that a brainwave scan capability was used on human subjects in a research effort,” he wrote. “That being said, using them to gauge loyalty to the CCP is not something you would find much focus on. When such AI is used for governmental control, a red line has been crossed.”
The Chinese government has come under fire for using AI and facial recognition systems to track and control Uighurs, an ethnic minority group. Between 1 million and 3 million Uighurs have been detained by the Chinese Communist Party in “reeducation camps,” according to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives,” US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said in a press release announcing the sanctions. “Unfortunately, the [People’s Republic of China] is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups.”