The Dawn of the Freedom Apocalypse
The Chinese government is constructing (and in fact already testing) a “social credit system” to rate every Chinese citizen. Here is why i believe this might be in the top 3 most scary things in the news in the past years (yes, right up there with the many acts of war and terrorism & the cartoon figure Trump being elected as president of the US).
If you have seen episode 1 of season 3 of Black Mirror, this “social credit system” will sound creepy familiar… If you haven’t, you should check it out! Black Mirror might not be the most relaxing show to watch (and will not help you feel relaxed and happy at all) but it sure makes you think about what scary future we could be living in very soon.
In short, this “social credit system” (SCS) would combine your social media posts, your online and offline shopping behaviour, what you watch and read, the amount of hours you play video games, your payment habits, the interaction with your friends, who you are friends with… into one number.
Ignoring for now that putting a score, a single number, on anything about a persons life is completely & utterly ridiculous and plainly ignoring the fact that human beings are extremely complex and multi-dimensional beings, it is also, by definition, putting a value, a judgement, on everything you do: paying your bills on time is good, posting critique on the government on social media is bad, reading the “wrong” books is bad, dating the “wrong” people is bad, being friends with someone that voices negative comments on the government is bad…
This SRS is already being tested today (thanks to the giant amounts of data owned by private companies like Tencent & Sesame Credit). And while it now gives “privileges” to people with a good score (which is a nice trick to fool people into thinking this is actually a good system, to that extent that millions already signed up for it voluntarily) it can only evolve into a system that takes away privileges of the ones with a “bad” score. As soon as this system comes into effect (planned to be in 2020), you can be sure it will be used to determine whether or not you can get a travel visa, how much you have to pay in a restaurant, if you can get that job you applied for, if you are allowed to get a loan to buy a house, where your children can go to school, how fast your internet connection will be, how a potential partner perceives you…
In fact, in February 2017, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court already banned 6.15 million from taking a flight and another 1.65 million from taking a train because they “misbehaved”.
While this very good article about the SCS (it’s long but it’s worth it!) calls it a way of creating “gamified obedience”, it is much more than that. It is the end of freedom. The end of freedom of speech, the end of freedom of movement, the end of all freedom. It reduces every decision in life to a question of “how will this impact my score”. In other words, it creates a way of controlling how people act, and even how people think. Moreover, it is a system that never forgets, that doesn’t allow mistakes or acts of foolishness. And, finally, it is a system instated and controlled by a government, a government that already controls information by blocking access to Google, Facebook, Whatsapp and many other services, a government that isn’t exactly known for it’s belief in democracy, a government that doesn’t want to empower the 1.3 billion Chinese people but wants to have power over them…
It is, simply put, a reign of terror in the making.