Thursday

China's "Social Credit System" - A Preview Of Coming Attractions?

China is implementing a credit score-like system that enumerates its citizen's behavior - currently an "opt-in", but later to be mandatory. While that may not sound too surprising for a society like China, neither does it stretch the bounds of credulity to think that something similar may pop up elsewhere, like - oh, I don't know - the USA? It would be a shame for all that data to go to waste...

Already in the US, employers can and do investigate the social media accounts of existing or prospective employees. People tend to be less inhibited on social media (or just boastful) and all kinds of positive and negative things may pop up. If you think that's just nutty, consider that IBM's Watson supercomputer will be watching.

Human nature being what it is, the negatives will likely draw more attention. Imagine all that activity was boiled down to a score, a number signifying your "worth" as a reliable employee, or indeed to society in general? Like a financial credit score, could that be used to determine your ease of access to other things?

If you are seen to be out partying hard every weekend and some week nights, would that count against you if you needed a liver transplant? Once you think of the impact of a concept like this, you might come up with all kinds of rationales for the way individuals are treated based upon their "score".

Western governments have so far shown little regard for the supposed privacy rights of citizens, and the corporations that slurp up all the data seem to always want more, in order to "better serve us".

It's not too much of a stretch to see how all that lovely data already readily offered by us via email, YouTube, Twitter, et al should be put to good use in making a more "just", more "equitable" society by handicapping it's populace; handicapping in the sporting sense, to make things "fair".

This is perhaps particularly true if the US continues down the path of seeming to want government more like the European model; more expansive, intrusive, etc. If "the government" is paying for something (healthcare, tuition, pensions, etc) they may be more inclined to feel they also should "appropriately distribute" access to those limited resources - perhaps guided by a person's score...

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