Imagine powerful images of rows of mindless, obedient subjects at a Chinese Communist Party Congress being brainwashed by an all-seeing tyrant.

Governments face the danger of losing authority over the social contract as social media and algorithms become their own power base.

The narration ominously chants: “Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of an information purification victory, a garden of pure ideology…we are one people with one whim, one resolve, one cause…we shall prevail.”

I’m not trying to spin larger-than-life, surrealistic film noir.

But a 61-year-old, ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, is very close to death.

Liu’s tragic predicament shows how China’s economic leadership in technology will become more difficult and complicated, because uncontrollable forces have been unlocked.

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