China has done some important moves on social ratings. The Chinese government is planning to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. What they are aiming is to be able to judge the trustworthiness of its current 1.3 billion residents. Understanding how this social rating works and how other companies are doing similar evaluations, we might foresee some future rating scores and behavior for all of us. Something like a chapter of the British series of "The Black Mirror".
China published a document called "Planning outline for the construction of a social credit system". It is a policy document with a radical idea. What if there is a national trust score that allows to let others know the kind of citizen you are?. Would China be the first of many to follow?.
China currently has two applications that allows you to pay everywhere and everyone is paying for everything with their phones. At McDonald’s, the convenience store, even at mom-and-pop restaurants. The two apps are Alipay and WeChat Pay. To get Alipay you just need to sign in by providing your mobile phone and an official national ID number. The process seems too easy and they claim or slogan is "trust makes it simple". You can use alipay from the moment you wake up by ordering breakfast through a delivery food app, paying for insurance by signing in your car details on an app. You can pay for services such as doctors, trips, electricity, internet service. Moreover, you can add friends in Alipay social network. All that information is being store to get a number from you. Just like some other social network companies are doing it. Facebook know the videos you are watching how much time you spend on each, what you share, avoid, block or like. Now, Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It's not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set either by the government, the companies or regulators. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school, or even to an extreme, just your chances of getting into a club, a social network or getting a date.
Today there are many apps rating or providing a score. However, most of them are not showing the rating to their users. The most commonly know are Uber and Airbnb. On these apps you evaluate the service you been given but at the same time you are given a rating as a customer. Drivers evaluate you as a customer for the treatment you gave, the kindness you shown, some of them even from your conversations, since we are humans evaluating objectively and subjectively. Customers also rate drivers or home owners based on the service, the promise, the route taken, etc. Today, we are getting segmented based on the rating we have. If you are highly rated, as some of the drivers would comment, you will be assigned by the app better rated drivers. As a society we are getting into a constant monitoring of activities that currently are isolated. From Yelp, trip advisor, uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Google, Youtube, Reddit, Linkedin, Pinterest, Apple, Instagram, Snapchat, Openable, Grubhub, Foursquare, Starbucks, Zomato, Tinder, Occupied, to mention the most well known. All these applications are measuring you based on different attributes and goals. Some are to sell you more the others to rank you. But what would happen when all that information is put together into a single scoring. That is China Social rating. Where not only the government is trying to understand how you manage your payments, if you pay on time, do you have a credit, insurance, car, house, internet, to mention some of the payment information. However, where you are shopping, areas you work and leisure, restaurants, travel, time at places but also friends matter, too. One important category is interpersonal relationships in China scoring system. What does their choice of online friends and their interactions say about the person being assessed? and they refers to it as "positive energy" online, nice messages about the government or how well the country's economy is doing, will make your score go up. So how would this experiment might change the way we behave? is this something that sounds feasible and desirable? some interesting choices that we are facing due to technology.
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