Chinese Government to Use Artificial Intelligence as Crime Prevention Tool

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. mayhem / ˈmeɪ hɛm / (n) – a state of chaos or disturbance

    Public mayhem occurred after the national election.

  2. extensive / ɪkˈstɛn sɪv / (adj) – including a large amount

    We are having difficulty learning the new software because it has extensive features.

  3. stamp out / stæmp aʊt / (phrasal) – to end something destructive through effective action

    The government should stamp out corruption by enforcing stricter laws.

  4. exploit / ɪkˈsplɔɪt / (v) – to take advantage of something

    The company wants to exploit the new technology by training all employees on how to use it.

  5. gauge / geɪdʒ / (v) – to measure

    The car’s new technology can instantly gauge travel time.


Read the text below.

The Chinese government is planning to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into its local security system.

In September, China’s Central Commission for Political and Legal Affairs head Meng Jianzhu announced that the government will utilize AI to deter crimes, terrorist attacks, and public mayhem. Meng believes that AI will produce more accurate data as it processes information faster than humans.

The AI software will involve machine learning, data mining, and computer modeling to forecast crimes.

In addition, the Chinese government is looking into using a data-gathering software to monitor people’s locations and activities. A representative from facial recognition firm Cloud Walk, which is currently testing the software, said that the Chinese authorities use an extensive rating system to evaluate individuals who are likely to take part in criminal activity according to the places they frequent and activities they engage in.

Nevertheless, the announcement garnered mixed reactions from the public. Counterterrorism expert Zunyou Zhou believes that China’s initiative to stamp out the growing threat of terrorism could provide an opportunity to test the effectiveness of terrorism-fighting advancements. However, he raised that the AI technology’s ability to collect personal data could lead to an abusive and controlling government.

China is not the first country to exploit AI as a tool for national security. In Italy, criminal analysis software KeyCrime has been used for over 10 years to predict where theft is likely to occur based on previous records. Meanwhile, software PredPol has helped over 20 police departments in the United States gauge the time and location of criminal activity.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How accurate do you think AI technology will be in predicting crime occurrence? Discuss.
• In your opinion, does your government need to adopt this kind of security? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Are you supportive or skeptical of AI technology? Why?
• How can AI technology developers assure the public of the technology’s safety? Explain.