If I told you China is about to launch a “social credit” system which can rank its citizens on their behavior, you’d probably think I was giving you the premise of a dystopian novel. But, that’s what is actually about to happen – and as soon as 2020 at that.
If that sounds familiar, that’s because it bears a striking resemblance to the Black Mirror episode ‘Nosedive’, which is set in a reality where people can rate each other from one to five stars based on the interactions they have, ratings which can affect their socioeconomic status.
I guess you can see where they found their inspiration…
China residents will all have “a personal scorecard” with which they can be rated based on things like whether they decide to carry out community work or buy Chinese products. In those cases, their score will go up.
However, if they commit fraud, or smoke in non-smoke areas, or even creepier, if they buy products not approved by the government, like alcoholic drinks or violent video games, their score will go down.
Other than that, according to ABC, even who you hang out with can affect your scores. So, if a friend or a family member says something negative about the government, then your scores will drop as well. That, of course, also includes who you date and marry.
According to ABC, the program has already begun to be piloted, with one trial program assigning residents a score out of 800, and in another a score out of 900. It uses smartphones, artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and geo-tracking to offer information, in addition to data the government already has on the citizens, like financial, medical and educational history.
The Communist Party calls this “social credit” and according to them, it will come into function by 2020. The purpose of this “scorecard” is to “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”
So, people with higher scores get “VIP treatment” at places like airports or hotels, will find it easier to get a bank loan, and better access to universities, whereas those will low scores can get banned from government jobs, or traveling, to just name a few.
Uhm? Okay then, Big Brother…