Alibaba Wants China To Build Spielberg’s “Minority Report” System

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma urged China’s top security bureau to use big data to prevent crime. The Chinese billionaire was endorsing China’s nascent effort to build unparalleled online surveillance of people. Ma and the ruling body of China, which is creating a system to collect and parse information on the Chinese, are saying the same thing, reports Bloomberg.

Alibaba wants China to use data to fight crime

According to the report published by the agency that runs the courts and polices crime, Ma said in his speech that China’s data capabilities are virtually incomparable among its global peers, and without the ability to analyze information on its citizens, policing cannot happen.

The capabilities described by Ma underline the role that major technology companies, including Alibaba, could play in building a system like that of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, in which the all-knowing state can halt crimes before they even take place. In his speech, Ma talked mainly of the issue of crime prevention. He said the future security and legal systems cannot be separated from the internet and big data.

In his speech posted on the official WeChat account of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, Ma said, “Bad guys in a movie are identifiable at first glance, but how can the ones in real life be found? In the age of big data, we need to remember that our legal and security system with millions of members will also face change.”

According to the WeChat post, the speech by Ma was televised to around 1.5 million domestic and legal security officials across China, including Meng Jianzhu, China’s top security czar, says Bloomberg.

After Ma’s speech, Meng said, “Everything is possible in the era of big data.”

What the West gets wrong about China

Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group, and Jean Liu, president of Didi Chuxing, said recently that there are a lot of misconceptions about China in the West, according to CNBC.  Evans said it is possible that the U.S. is just envious that giants like Tencent and Baidu were built in a market that is thought to be less free. Liu added that she is confident that the government is motivating entrepreneurship, adding that U.S. firms should not mistake “Chinese innovation as copycatting.”

Evans also said he is not particularly concerned about the criticism from famed short-seller Jim Chanos or hedge fund manager Kyle Bass. Bass recently commented that China’s banking system had assets that were created recklessly, while Chanos said real estate and debt in China were headed for a bubble.

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