Home Opinion The Chinese 14th Five Year Plan: An Early Manifestation of ‘Cyberocarcy’

The Chinese 14th Five Year Plan: An Early Manifestation of ‘Cyberocarcy’

The Chinese 14th Five Year Plan: An Early Manifestation of ‘Cyberocarcy’
Photo Credit | Asia Times Financial |

By Simbarashe Mahaka

The relentless flux of politics has shaped its nature since time immemorial as there was need to deal not only with the major processes of its development, dwindling and breakdown but also with ceaseless turmoil of adaptation and adjustment.

The greatness and assortment of progressions that happened on 21st C suggests the components of the issue. Extraordinary empires broke, nation states rose, prospered quickly and afterwards vaporized.

World Wars twice changed the world’s political frameworks, the Cold War also shaped worlds’ political landscape with the enlargement of pluralism, the emergence of new political issues, the extension of the scope of governmental activities, and the threat of nuclear war and innumerable other socio-economic and technical development.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union with the triumph of liberal democracy as Francis Fukuyama wrote what is termed the end of history.

This meant the end-point of mankind’s ideological evolution and universalization of liberal democracy as the ultimate form of human government. However, this is not where the major story is. World politics witnessed different ‘cracies’ theocracy, aristocracy, democracy, among others. David Ronfeldt worked a theory of cyberocracy as the next political evolutionary concept. Cyberocracy is simply the rule by way of information, particularly when using interconnected networks.

It is clear that, in this cyber aeon, technology is taking over all spheres of humanity socially economically thus politics is not spared. It is however imperative to note that the exact nature of cyberocracy is largely hypothetical as currently there have been no cybercractic governments, nonetheless, a growing number prototype Cybercratic elements are currently epitomized in many nations, but mainly People’s Republic of China. (PRC). Ronfeldt identified two ways in which cyberocracy may manifest itself, firstly, as a form of organization that supplants traditional forms of bureaucracy and technocracy, secondly, as a form of government that may redefine relations between the state and society, and between the public sector and private sector (Ronfeldt 1992).

It is in both ways where this article premises its analysis arguing that the concept Predicted by Ronfeldt in early 1990s is indeed manifesting, for instance, data mining companies like the then Cambridge Analytica is a form of organization that supplants traditional forms of bureaucracy and technocracy’, governance by artificial intelligence, algorithms (AI), e-democracy, governance/government as a form of government that may redefine relations between state and society.

These concepts are broad and are topics on their own but however generally taking a closer glance at Al Government, this is a social ordering, where the usage of computer algorithms, especially of artificial intelligence, is applied to regulations, law enforcement, and generally any aspect of everyday life such as transportation, registrations, court cases, decision making etc. Algorithm governance uses applied artificial intelligence by which the latter is mainly the use of machine intelligence rather than natural intelligence (human intelligence).

In line with this, innovation is being eulogized as the essential concept driving China’s transformation with technological liberation and self-reliance as strategic ancillary bastions of the Chinese 14th Five Year Plan (FYP).

Unlike the 13th FYP and the release of Made in China 2025, the 14th FYP will linger for the changeover from manufacturing cheap, low-tech goods to be high-end and specialized producers of goods, and emboldens the shift to “tech self-sufficiency.”

Heretofore, the world of trading saw these types of policies being underplayed and employed in a fragmentary way, particularly after the SinoAmerican trade war, thus their execution over the next five years will possibly be ramped up and more constantly applied across the country.

Although not clearly stated, chip-making will likely be vital attention in the next five years, as China sought to build up its endogenous capacity.

Investment in research and development is a resounding theme with seven frontier fields highlighted for further exploration:
artificial intelligence, quantum information, integrated circuits, life and health sciences, neural sciences, biological breeding, and aerospace technology.

Assuming the Red Dragon triumphs in developing all the aforementioned aspects of its means, however, is that the global political goalpost will shift.

Transformation in the industrial stock chain is recognized as essential to augment internal demand and build endogenous innovation capacity. Consistent with business trends during the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus (Covid-19 disease) time, the manufacturing industry will also see a push towards more high-end, intelligent, and green technology.

Sino 14th FYP is implemented to accelerate: 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence integration in advanced manufacturing clusters within various industries; improvements to the quality of national infrastructure, reinforcement of patent standards and other systems; and digital expansion in industrialization. What is also imperative to note is that the fact that China is emerging as a tech-giant does not mean it is only the sole embracer of tech in the international community, the world as a whole is. The United Nations annually holds an ‘Al’ for Good Global Summit,” which started in 2017 a summit that fosters discussions on the beneficial use of artificial intelligence by developing concrete projects.

This is a historical transition of global politics, through the incorporation of technology in politics at a global level, thus this will perpetuate the embracing and incorporation of algorithms and Artificial intelligence by individual states in their domestic politics.

Over and above, technology is taking over, thus states should gear up to cope with the new political epoch which is certainly going to come, as clearly epitomized by the early manifestation “Cybercratic zygote.”

By Simbarashe Mahaka (MSc International Trade and Diplomacy Candidate, U.Z)
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