Designed in China: Part Three Click

Designed in China: Part Three

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played tributes on war graves. Lots more as always on our website, and


Ben Bland will be here at the top of the hour.


This week we are back in China with robots promoted to waiters and


monks. Our journey through China has taken


us across this vast country. From badminton smashes


to smashing bridges. It's a fascinating place,


hungry for success. But there's one subject


you can't avoid here. People can't do what they want,


say what they want, The government controls the media


here and it tries is hardest to lock And if you go online here,


you hit a massive obstruction. It is a filter that blocks access


to sites, apps and search terms considered contrary to Chinese


values, and that includes Facebook and Twitter,


and all Google services, including Gmail and


even the home page. Hong Kong publisher,


Bal Pu knows more about Chinese Son of ex-high-ranking Chinese


official, now dissident, Bal Tong, he's released a whole host of books


that take a critical look at the politics


of the Chinese state. The books are banned


in mainland China. The Great Firewall, in its essence,


is the Great Firewall of the mind. The firewall will last as long


as the regime lasts, as long as the impulses of control


for the Government last and work. If it doesn't work in the short run,


it works in the long run. Because it blocks certain


information, and for people who are actually not knowing


this information ever As a foreigner, you might


not actually notice We've been out and about, roaming


on our smartphones, and I've been getting all of my Gmails,


tweets and all my Facebook updates. But if you log your device


onto a local Wi-Fi service, that's when you start to see


the Internet as the Chinese do. Updates don't load,


websites become unavailable. It turns out that though,


not to be a huge problem. We've been accessing


services through a VPN, How it works is that they give


you access to a server somewhere else in the world,


somewhere outside China So, I've got a phone


here which is logged on to Chinese Wi-Fi, and as you can


see, things just aren't However, things are starting to get


a little more dark. Chinese citizens are being


encouraged to report on each other online, looking for inappropriate


content like politically Private messaging is being monitored


and your digital footprint, what you do online and who you talk


to, could start to automatically affect you getting a job


or getting access to credit. Dan Simmons reports


from the city of Shanghai. Just as big Chinese cities start


to look more like Western ones, each day, so like in the West,


the Chinese equivalents of Facebook and eBay are getting


to know their users even better. Wandering round this metropolis,


it's easy to feel very at home. But it's also really easy to forget


that you could be being watched. Wii Chat has become a sort


of WhatsApp and Facebook But while WhatsApp messages


are encrypted to stop snooping, it's a very different story on Wii


Chat. You know, day-to-day message,


and we do video calls, Actually, we do everything,


including payment. I mean, everybody knows


we're being watched, If this were a student protest,


it would only take about less than one day for the Government


to find out and then it I sort of understand


that the Government is trying to block some things to maintain


the so-called harmony, or social stability,


but I feel that it's our right to know what's happening out there,


and it's our right to have our own judgment on stuff


that is a threat to us. Certain accounts that


post too many things that the Government doesn't approve


of will be blocked forever. Being watched is one thing,


but Shangue says that, increasingly, One of my roommates, actually,


is a part of the team, so he received a message


from his leader saying that you should do this


and you should do that, So, you have university students


spying on other university students? And reporting them


to the Government? Yes.


That's correct. Wii Chat's move into being


a purchasing platform, as well as a social one,


means they have each user's buying And that mixing of the social


and financial is a cause The pressure group Privacy


International says that it's worried about a new development in China


called Sesame Credit. How would you feel if


the information you were sharing on social media, all communications


you are having with your partner impacted the chances of you getting


credit, and essentially the chances of you getting a nicer house,


and nicer car, having your kids go Would you be willing,


or would you even be able to change behaviour and comply


with such a system? Sesame Credit was created last year,


not by the big banks, but by China's shopping equivalent to eBay,


Alibaba and ANDE financial services. This online video suggests


that your social accounts and who you are friends


with could affect your access to credit, mortgages


and even some jobs. Under this game, each


user is given a score, a number that, if high enough,


could be used for preferential treatment at Marriot hotels


and Hertz cars, amongst others. And in the future, it's likely to be


recognised much more widely. So, I find out, ooh!


I got a high score. So, I'm proud of that


and show my friends, There is so many incentives built


into this system from a psychological level,


from a competitive level, The reason that it is self-policing


is because there are so much Maybe go to make more friends,


make more good-quality friends. The idea that people


pick their friends, or change their on-line


behaviour in pursuit of a high score is challenged


by Sesame Credit's creators. They told us that they currently


have no intention of tracking any non-consumption activities


of our users. And there's no evidence


to the contrary, but This government document states


China's intentions of having credit scores partly based on news media,


that blacklists should be widely publicised with an overall aim


to categorise credit scores. So some feel proud, and lower


scorers learn to change I'm off to see a seasoned


international journalist He believes it's just a matter


of time before schemes like Sesame Credit do start


to use social media. We invited Tencents, the owners


of Wii Chat, to talk to us about online surveillance and credit


scores but they didn't reply to us. The Chinese credit rating system


for individuals is very young. Social credit scores,


as they are being called, could see the blending of financial


and social information, be it judging our posts


or friendship groups So, it's likely that the credit


for introducing new rules governing people's access to money,


and perhaps other life opportunities will go to China's biggest tech


companies rather than its banks. And here's another quirky thing


I haven't seen before. I keep getting these


Chinese text messages Now, I thought they were saying


things like, welcome to such and such, but they are actually spam


texts offering you a massage But I wondered, how do


they know my number? Only the mobile network should know


that my mobile number is currently in China and they wouldn't be


spamming me, would they? Well, it turns out that there


is a scam going on here. People can set up fake mobile cells,


so you can get these little black boxes that you can buy, and they


pose as a mobile cell tower. People drive around the city


and your phone hops onto that cell, They get your phone number


and they send you a Authorities say it could provide


greater clarity on potential criminal connections. Fed up with


unloading the dishwasher? You are apparently not the only one. If only


there was a robot dog that could help. This has been well house


trained to deal with a dirty dishes, and its makers say that having


stretched from hydraulics to electric, it is one of the quietest


robots have ever built. Now just has to keep up the good work. Finally,


if you are determined to get the last bit out of your soap and


shampoo bottles, you are going to love this. Ohio University have


created a bottle that allows you to empty every last drop. It involves


lining a bottle with nano particles, creating air pockets so the soap


never quite touches the container. Now, we're going to see how


an interesting robot is being built But first, we asked LJ


Rich, back in the UK, how hard it is to actually


build one yourself. I'm building a MeArm,


an affordable robot arm that just needs a screwdriver


and time to put together. It's the result of a Crowdfunded


project that made nearly So, imagine being plunged


into a really complex version It's fun, even though


the instructions for the new model are still a bit rough


around the edges. And it's a great way to learn


how servos those work But why stop at just


one robot to play with? Why not get a job


somewhere like here? This is the "Body in White" area,


containing around 1,200 robot arms. It's where the metal parts


of the car get put together At full whack, this plant can make


up to 1000 units per day. These robots are so big and strong


they have to work in cages. Each one costs about ?20,000,


that's around $30,000, but there are additional software


programming costs on top of that. These robots use laser sensors


to align parts before fixing them and have to be accurate to half


a width of a human hair. Robot expert and fast walker,


Tom Bradford, has worked He's been here so long he saw


the first robots start work here, and it's all this eye candy,


he tells me what's next. There is a move, I'm sure,


in the future, to make robots So, we see down here,


a pair that are on what we They are on a track


like a short railway line. They can move backwards


and forwards. But I can see a time


where they'd just be skating around on the floor,


in two dimensions, to take short cuts between points


and things like this. You can't train easily a robot


to look for a fault that is It really is a problem,


so, you have to... There's a lot of good reason why


people are still involved They are a lot better,


perhaps, at doing things I brought the MeArm to meet


its biggest siblings, and showed it to Tom


and robot trainer, Martin. Because the interface is quite


simple, it's surprisingly difficult compared to programming those,


because you've got so many options of speed and how you want it


programmed and setup. You don't have this


kind of on-off nature. But for practising and understanding


the principles, it's We are in the rarely-filmed


robot experimenting area, where these majestic, metallic


machines are tested and programmed. Just like my little robot,


these bigger machines work both Yours goes a little


bit faster than mine! If anything,


visiting this factory and building my own robot arm


shows me the rise of the machines Even with machine learning


getting more sophisticated, humans still bring autonomy


and adaptation into the mix, And now back to China to see how one


company is hoping to bridge the gap This factory may not be much to look


out from the outside, but as has often been the case


in our visit to China, Surprising technological


treasures lurk inside. They've become rather famous


for making robot waiters and waitresses for restaurants


all over the country. And they also make industrial robots


that play "Fur Elise". I have to say this seems to be


the standard warning tune in many We are waiting for a different part


of the market for China. Each robot costs about $7,000


and can be made in a couple of days out of the parts


here in the factory. The robots are programmed


to move around on a track. Right now, the robots are most


likely to be found in restaurants But in the future, the plan


is for them to be able to pour This new robot uses a six direction


hand to pour a drink, Instead, it will move using a stored


map to find its way around. It's a bit controversial,


but the team here believes that the robots will serve


an important role in society, taking away jobs, they say,


that some people don't want to do. So, how are these bots getting


on in the real world so far? Well, we sent Click's boss,


Simon Hancock, down to a local restaurant where one of the robots


is employed as a waiter. I'm not sure how many jobs


this robot will remove. It seems like you need more people


than you would do normally. So, it may be a few years before


humans are overtaken by robots, Well, it's nearly time for us


to leave China, but, before we do, here's Jen Copestake with some monks


who've built some robots, This was the last place


we expected to find a robot The Longquan Temple


was built at the foot north-west of Beijing,


a thousand years ago and the site Underneath this bridge is said


to live a Golden dragon, and in this ancient ginkgo


is rumoured to be an old man with a white beard,


who is a God of the tree. Buddhism is an ancient tradition


that forms the spiritual practice And the monks here are hoping to use


technology to promote their beliefs to many more,


through an extremely cute robot. Xian'er's name actually means


'Stupid, virtuous one.' But he's Through the touch screen held


on his tummy, he can answer simple voice commands and answer up to 100


questions about Buddhism. He's happy to have a conversation


about various deep topics... The master has just asked


the robot monk where And he says, even human beings


cannot answer this question. The robot monk has got


some sensitive parts. The master showed me around


the grounds where they grow their own food, and have a high-tech


library as well as a lower tech one. The temple is gaining a reputation


as being a high-tech monastery. Some of the monks here have degrees


in computer science. The main master monk


was the first in mainland China to start an internet blog,


and at least one monk is rumoured The robot is based on a cartoon


the monks created in the temple and is the subject of several


bestselling books in Asia. This studio is where volunteers


create stop-motion animation about his life, using these dough


figurines made from flour. We also use this editing system


at the BBC. It might help if I pick up my


Chinese language skills before volunteering. Concubine. Close


enough! I was surprised to find such


as sophisticated stop-motion studio operating at the heart of the temple


with so many volunteers. But it was the volunteers


that drove the creation He was designed by technology


companies in China who donated their expertise and time to help


promote Buddhism in a high-tech way. They are already working


on an updated version. I wish that we could


communicate in English. I hope you found it as fascinating


as we have. Next week, we are on the opposite


side of the world in Follow us on Twitter for all


the backstage action at Click.


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