This winter I’ve written eight articles for Mind Matters News on China and technology. Most of them focus on using technology for censorship and surveillance, both online and in real life. The Chinese government has an extensive propaganda and censorship machine that ensures Chinese people see a curated version of the internet that promotes national unity and a positive view of the government. I think it’s important to write about these issues for two reasons: 1) to bring attention to the human rights abuses of Chinese citizens, 2) to hold a mirror up to ourselves and our relationship with technology.
In Coded Bias, a documentary about the racism and discrimination inherent in algorithms (directed by Shalini Kantayya), MIT research Joy Buolamwini says that when you see how facial recognition is being deployed in different parts of the world, it shows you potential futures. The same is true of internet censorship and high-tech surveillance. Technology is a tool, and like all tools, it can be used for good or for ill, depending on who is wielding it.
Below are some of my recent articles. Be sure to check out my article at The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity Coronavirus Vaccine Ethics for answers to some of your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.
“China’s Door-to-Door Census Now Identifies Religious Believers” –- Census takers are urged to keep their eyes open for evidence of religious activity
“Coronavirus Vaccine Ethics”— A look at the major ethical considerations regarding the COVID-19 vaccines
“Hi-Tech and China: The Long Game re Spying in the United States” –- The relationship between California’s Eric Swalwell and Fang Fang could be the plot of the latest thriller novel
“How Bias Can Be Coded Into Unthinking Programs” -– MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini started the project as a trivial “bathroom mirror” message
“Chinese Entrepreneur Jack Ma Missing After Criticizing the Party” -– If even Jack Ma can just disappear in China’s high tech world, is anyone safe? (This article received over 10,000 views!)
“Lawyer Turned Citizen Journalist in China Turns Up Again–in Jail” -– She has been sentenced to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a crime in China
“Eugenicide” -– China’s brutal treatment & suppression of Uyghur Muslims
What I’ve Been Consuming
Website: The New Atlantis, a website (and journal) on technology and society. Everything on this website is interesting, thoughtful, and well-researched.
Book: Silence by Shusaku Endo, a book about missions, persecution, and suffering
Book: Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal’s Pensees—Edited, Outlined & Explained by Peter Kreeft, an apologetics book that was ahead of its time
Book: Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City by Fang Fang, a daily account of life under lockdown in Wuhan during the beginning of the pandemic
Fiction: Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, one of the oldest mystery magazines, EQMM offers a good read if you need a break from the headlines
From the Archives
Our Uneasy Tranquility The New Atlantis, Number 58, Spring 2019, pp. 15-27.
Today nearly everyone can plainly see that Pascal was right and Bacon was wrong; that man’s conquest of nature by science and technology, despite its spectacular success, has not made us happier, has not made us wiser and has not made us holier.Peter Kreeft, Christianity for Modern Pagans