The Chinese Communists are instituting a new system for monitoring the social behavior of all of its citizens. Each citizen will be assigned a score based on such behavior, and that score will determine everything in your life.
Imagine a world where an authoritarian government monitors everything you do, amasses huge amounts of data on almost every interaction you make, and awards you a single score that measures how “trustworthy” you are.
In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticising the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points. And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are – determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant – or even just get a date.
This is not the dystopian superstate of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, in which all-knowing police stop crime before it happens. But it could be China by 2020. It is the scenario contained in China’s ambitious plans to develop a far-reaching social credit system, a plan that the Communist Party hopes will build a culture of “sincerity” and a “harmonious socialist society” where “keeping trust is glorious.”
The government hasn’t announced exactly how the plan will work – for example, how scores will be compiled and different qualities weighted against one another. But the idea is that good behaviour will be rewarded and bad behaviour punished, with the Communist Party acting as the ultimate judge.
Let me be clear, the left absolutely adores China and adores it precisely because of its authoritarian Government. And they would love nothing more than to have this kind of system — the state monitoring your behavior constantly and dinging you for any act of political incorrectness. It would be the ultimate tool of social control.
Think I’m exaggerating? Ask Brendan Eich. Or Travis Kalanick. Or Curt Shilling.
This article actually came out last fall. I wonder why there hasn’t been more discussion of it.