China's pervasive "social credit" scheme is still in development, but already profoundly shaping public behavior


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/07/xi-bop.html


#2

I think we all knew that this is how whuffies would work in real life.


#3

The digital long march toward turning the world into a Black Mirror dystopia continues. Smile!


#4

It would probably be a life-risking behavior, but it would be awesome if hackers could wreck the ratings of all party officials and cut off their ability to access the system.


#5

It is a shame that we’re getting the dystopian option for our future. I specifically requested the utopian option, with a side order of robo-hugs.

Please like my comment. I need to boost my BB Rating, so that I can gain access to the “Beschizza Photoshop Blocker”, to remove his eye-mouth photos from my feed.


#6

I find the idea of social credit rather interesting. I often decry the fact that North American culture has evolved to value almost nothing but your bank balance. How that bank balance came to be is almost immaterial.

The fact that our social behaviour means very little is, I think, one of North America’s biggest weaknesses and inoculation against the success of any sort of “social credit score”.


#7

??? Somehow I suspect that the women in women-only dating apps would have little interest in me.

It’s because I have a cabbage for a head, isn’t it???


#8

I would hope that the woman on the women only dating apps chose to be on there.


#9

I do not understand.

What I meant is that one would think women signed up for a woman-only dating app would not be interested in dating men.


#10

Yeah, I got that, you lovable cabbage head. :wink: Sorry.

You just triggered some grim part of my brain to wonder if, in the real world, there would be coercion necessary to fill up the female side of app. I can see why women would want to find potential husbands who have high Sesame Rating; but, it looks like there is still a weird disparity in the nation’s sexual demographics. Not massive, but enough to make women rarer then men.


#11

Perhaps this is meant as women only contacting app. So men have profiles, but can not intiate any contact. I mean who doesn’t want to get harnessed with a flood of dick pics…


#12

It is interesting to compare this to the FICO which it obviously has been modeled on. It is multi faceted because the party is interested in many kinds of behavior instead of just Do you pay back the money that people have lent you?" And unlike FICO, it is run by the government (or is it the party?) instead of a private company.

I wonder what perverse ways people will find to game the system, and what problems that gaming will have. Interesting times.


#13

That it is. And also very scary.


#14

Its also pretty much how “dollars” work. Its not like money is some objective thing, its literally created by somebody deciding somebody else merits “points” (AKA a loan) and that person eventually reciprocating (paying back the loan).


#15

Shhhhhh…

(Yes, it’s a complete sentence, you bucket of bolts.)


#16

Ironically it would seem like a social credit system would create the exact type of society that a group like 4Chan’s r9k already believes exists en masse. Introverted people are going to have a lower social score, not to mention people who have any type of social issues (such as anxiety or autism). Sure you are rewarding being a good person, but by human nature the beautiful and outgoing are going to be judged better than the quite and socially awkward.


#17

As with many things, the question if who decides. Somebody is making a decision as to what is “good” or not, and that person may well have a very different view on that than I do. It’s not like there is a democratic process where people vote on whether driving like a dick is worse than talking in the theater.


#18

They’re the ones with the crappy scores.


#19

I have seen that question asked at the last hackers’ congress which discussed sesame credit. Understandably, some people a bit short in money but with a gift to make plenty of friends find the idea of “social credit” attractive.

Except that the whole system is out of the control of the users. Putting any kind of “credit”, social, money or otherwise, in a “black box”, a “cloud”, etc… means that everybody is at the mercy of the owner of that “cloud”. There is no “cloud”, it is always other people’s computers. They own them and they decide anyone credit as they see fit.

Their own credit is untouchable.

Once you understand that, you realise that democratic sociaties already have a social credit system: it is called the judiciary. It serves the same purpose as sesame credit in rewarding some behaviours and punishing others. Except that its “algorithm” is under control of the legislative and that the whole system is supposed to be democratically controlled. Admitedly, not always as should be but in any case better than an “algorithm” hiding in a “cloud”.


#20

I could see the party offering to wipe out a woman’s poor Sesame Score in return for marrying some dude with a high score. Maybe that’s just because I’m just bleak.