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Old Yesterday, 12:15 PM
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pipbarber pipbarber is online now
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Default China's Social Credit System

China first announced its intention to implement a social credit system in 2014. The idea was back in the news this week and the system is apparently due to be operational by 2020. I've been vaguely aware of the idea for a few years now without paying it much attention but the convergence of two events have me thinking about our digital dystopian future.

For those not aware of what the system entails, here's a quick summarry from a recent article from theConversation.

Quote:
The proposed system will draw on data gathered from individuals and businesses to provide social credit scores based on both economic and social behaviour. While government proposals provide little detail about how scores will be calculated, current pilots use both online consumer behaviour and the scores of others in a personís network.
So all citizens will get a score for how good a citizen they are and these scores will be used for financial services such as getting a loan, starting a business etc (similar to a credit rating) but it will also impact a whole range of other activities like employment, getting a rental lease, even dating.

Anyway, the events that have sparked my interest in system are firstly, the US government shutdown which is just another demonstration of how broken the US is and by extension how strong China is becoming and how smoothly it'll slide into the vacuum created by American isolationism. Secondly, i watched the Black Mirror episode 'Nosedive' (s3 ep1) about a woman who's life disintegrates because her social media score collapses.

From my perspective, China's Social Credit System is a very bad idea for various reasons but mostly because it will suppress diversity and creativity and they are the source of some of the best things life has to offer. However, maybe i'm wrong, maybe it will force everyone to behave in a socially minded way, all the time. Maybe its a stroke of genius. Whichever, i'm glad i'm as old as i am because i think we'll probably need to endure some kind of digital dystopia prior to experiencing digital based freedom in much the same way we needed an industrial dystopia (1914-1945) prior to the far better decades that followed and i really hope i don't have to live through the dystopian bit. Makes me worry for my kids though.
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  #2  
Old Yesterday, 12:23 PM
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The Irreverent Mr Black The Irreverent Mr Black is offline
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Default Re: China's Social Credit System

For an interesting tale, in a fairly-familiar society based on social credit, try Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

Linky leads to a free read.

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: Download for free from the author's site.

Familiar tropes in the book
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Last edited by The Irreverent Mr Black; Yesterday at 12:35 PM. Reason: add
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Old Yesterday, 12:46 PM
Wrenn Wrenn is offline
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Default Re: China's Social Credit System

Quote:
The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
For an interesting tale, in a fairly-familiar society based on social credit, try Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

Linky leads to a free read.

ADDED
: Download for free from the author's site.

Familiar tropes in the book
Not a bad novel which in part explores the idea of a reputation based system and the impacts it has on society. There is also a freely available audiobook:

http://voicesinthedark.com/content.php?iContent=186
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Old Yesterday, 04:27 PM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: China's Social Credit System

Quote:
pipbarber said View Post
From my perspective, China's Social Credit System is a very bad idea for various reasons but mostly because it will suppress diversity and creativity and they are the source of some of the best things life has to offer. However, maybe i'm wrong, maybe it will force everyone to behave in a socially minded way, all the time. Maybe its a stroke of genius. Whichever, i'm glad i'm as old as i am because i think we'll probably need to endure some kind of digital dystopia prior to experiencing digital based freedom in much the same way we needed an industrial dystopia (1914-1945) prior to the far better decades that followed and i really hope i don't have to live through the dystopian bit. Makes me worry for my kids though.

Making everyone behave in a socially acceptable way may be a good intention, on the other hand it's likely neither Apple or Microsoft would ever have existed if this system was used in the USA.


Ok to those particular examples some might say, well and good, they are both undesirable businesses, but a country that allows them the possibility of existing also allows the possibility for many other good things to exist that might be suppressed by this system. It's very similar to the Australian government, for instance, insisting that basic research has to demonstrate a positive return to receive funding. It's very much an intention to drive research in the direction of providing social benefits, but it simply doesn't work!
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