A Citizen Score in China
In a contentious world first, China plans to implement a social credit system (officially referred to as a Social Credit Score or SCS) by 2020. The idea first appeared in a document from the State Council of China published in June 2014. It is a technological advancement so shocking to modern-minded paradigms that many can do little but sit back in defeatist chagrin as science fiction shows us its darker side.
The SCS seems relatively simple. Every citizen in China, which now has numbers swelling to well over 1.3 billion, would be given a score that, as a matter of public record, is available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behavior — from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills, to their social interactions — and it’ll become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness, which would also be publicly ranked.
This actually sounds worse than an Orwellian nightmare.
A citizen’s score affects their eligibility for a number of services, including the kinds of jobs or mortgages they can get, and it also impacts what schools their children qualify for. In this respect, the SCS resembles one of the most chilling episodes from Black Mirror’s third season. Incidentally, the show isn’t really known as a “feel-good” flick. It presents various dystopian views of society, but China’s SCS proves reality is darker than fiction.
China is making Black Mirror a reality.
Is this to be the model for our future?