Big Data and Social Credit Scores in China

Ever wondered what kind of citizen you are? Well, a new policy in China will let their citizens know where you rank amongst one another. Think of it like a credit score, you know, like the credit scores you get based off of your financial activity. The government plans to scrutinize every detail about what you buy, where you are, who your friends are and how you interact with them and others, and even how much time you spend online or playing video games. And then, once that data is collected citizens will then be presented with a social credit score.

This concept is reliant on Big Data collection techniques.  The Chinese government has tasked eight different private companies to create systems and algorithms to determine social credit scores. But as if being ranked amongst your fellow citizens isn’t enough, those who are ranked with low social credit scores as “untrustworthy” will have slower Internet speeds, restrictions to which restaurants, nightclubs and bars they go to, may even have restrictions on where they can travel to, and just generally have restrictions on obtaining a higher quality of life. A philosophy and ethics professor at the University of Oxford, Luciano Floridi, states that we are “entering a fourth shift”, in which what we do online and what we do offline are almost synonymous with one another.

While it’s not set to roll out until 2020, there has been a voluntary trail group rolled out that has already seen some consequences. Such as travel restrictions on those who have done “untrustworthy” things in their social spheres.

Now, if this seems to be some kind of dystopian society we are building, I’d have to agree with you. The article above even compares it to Orwell’s 1984. So, my parting message is: when your mom tells you to be careful of what you put on social media or how your actions have consequences, maybe listen to her before you roll your eyes with annoyance.

Check the full article out here! ^^^


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