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Programming China: The Communist Party’s autonomic approach to managing state security

In July 2017, the Chinese government released its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan. The gained significant media attention in part because it linked AI with another topic that has drawn a considerable amount of attention, China’s “social credit system” (社会信用体系). Social credit uses big-data collection and analysis to monitor, shape and rate behaviour. While advances in artificial intelligence, and the growth of the surveillance state are all noteworthy on their own, China’s social credit program explicitly links them as parts of a broader political control process known as “social management” (社会管理). Social management helps describe how the Chinese Communist Party attempts to stabilise its version of authoritarianism through a way of thinking that both embodies and applies complex systems management. Advances like the social credit system do not create fundamentally new control methodologies. Instead, they are best described as upgraded hardware and software components being installed to make the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) political system more effective.


Dr. Samantha Hoffman: is a Visiting Academic Fellow, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and Research Consultant at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Her research is focused on Chinese state security policy and social management. She holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Nottingham (2017), and an MSc in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford (2011), and BA degrees in International Affairs and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the Florida State University (2010). She has been widely published including in: China File, War on the Rocks, The National Interest, China Brief, Forbes and Jane’s Intelligence Review. She has been quoted in numerous media outlets, including: Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Science Magazine and WIRED Magazine.

Date: Wednesday, June 13th 2018

Time: 18:30

Location: SIN1 at the Department for East Asian Studies/Chinese Studies, Altes AKH, Campus, Spitalgasse 2, Yard 2, Entrance 2.3

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