The Chinese government have announced they plan to launch a ‘social credit system’ in 2020 to rank the trustworthiness of its citizens. This has been compared as frightfully similar to the narrative of the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” which aired last year.
The initial plan was revealed with the publication of a document entitled ‘Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System.’ From now citizens are able to participate voluntarily in the scheme but from 2020 it will be mandatory for all.
Not only will people’s spending be taken into account but also what they buy and their online activity. Just like in Black Mirror who people interact with online will also contribute to ratings.
All these elements will be used to dictate assumed character traits. People with greater scores will be given access to better loans, and accounts as well as priority for better restaurants, internet speeds, travel and jobs.
China has long been one of the most technologically advanced nations. The government invests a lot into tech companies and by 2025 they hope to be the single biggest trader of artificial intelligence.
Most countries use credit systems to see if someone would be able to repay a loan or mortgage, but they only take into account peoples spending. It’s also become the norm to use apps to rate businesses and services for apps like Uber and Trip Advisor but never for ordinary people.
Millions of people have already signed up to the scheme in China. But many are concerned that with this amount of power and insight the government may record a lot more than the document lets on.