Keywords of the Greater Bay Area



Zhang Hanlu

Calculating Emotions

Emotions are measurable. For instance, Li Wenliang's Weibo message board has become a growing online tree hole 1 , where new messages come in every minute addressed to no one and everyone. At the same time, an artificial intelligence system 2 uses sentiment analysis data crawlers to monitor and label each message in real-time with a "pain index" and "suicide risk." If the "pain index" of a message exceeds twelve and the "suicide risk" is higher than five, the system activates an alert and a team of volunteers conducts a suicide intervention.

What are your pain index and suicide risk today?

A machine learning system developed by Michal Kosinski, an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University, can supposedly distinguish whether a person is introverted or extroverted using facial recognition3 . "Emotions are written on one's face" has taken on the most literal meaning.

Who will archive your personality and who will collect your joy, angst, or sadness?

As emotions or feelings are revealed and expressed on social networks, they are immediately transformed into circulating data. Data is the new crude oil for companies such as Cambridge Analytica4 , which mined, refined, classified, and labeled personal data. The clients of these companies use their services to "accurately target" their ads so that products or presidential candidates find the users who are most likely to pay/vote for them.

What you see most probably is what they want you to see. And your desire, followed by your action, is it even real?

By using search engines, chat apps, and e-shopping platforms, we are not only generating data but also training our own data. While caregiving and other forms of emotional labor are not yet widely recognized in society, our emotions are already discreetly driving the labor of algorithms. By tapping and swiping on our mobile phone, we are involuntarily involved in social production.

Please show your mental health QR code… Sorry, you've got a red code and your emotional indicator is off the chart. You have to self-quarantine for 14 days.

  1. [1] In China, a "tree hole" refers to an internet space where people can share their secrets or negative feelings with strangers without fear or anxiety.
  2. [2] On Weibo, AI is stopping people from suicide
  3. [3] AI distinguishes people's personalities through facial recognition
  4. [4] Cambridge Analytica
About Keywords of the Greater Bay Area

The "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" is a new construction envisioned from a top-down perspective and territorial integration. It is a blueprint for a future urban development based on efficiency, speed, and mobility. What if we conceive the Greater Bay Area as an experiment, an imaginary experiment? On the one hand, there is the question of 'diversity'. When we talk about smart cities, artificial intelligence, automation, ecological crisis, information security, the future of virtual reality, global trade, etc., where does this view of the future come from, and what determines it? On the other hand, a profound political, spatial, historical, and geographical significance is present in the Greater Bay Area. Is it possible to develop a different imagination based on the history and culture of the "Pearl River Delta-Greater Bay Area;" meaning, to consider a development departing from local knowledge production, negotiating with accelerating technologies, facilitating collaborations between art and other disciplines, and reshaping the vision of institutions of art and technology? By exploring the diversity of technologies, human and non-human ecologies, and reproduction of social relations, might it be possible to reposition the "Greater Bay Area" as a pioneering experiment of southern China's technological and cultural imagination beyond a mere economic zone?

Editors: Jianru Wu, Guo Yun
English editor: Christy Lange