China is introducing citizen scorecards - and it's scarily like an episode of Black Mirror

Lowenna Waters
Thursday 20 September 2018 13:45
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It may sound like something from the plot of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, but China is introducing a dystopian scorecard system to track its citizens.

Remember the episode Nosedive, which opened season three, and featured the character Lacie (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), who existed in a world where everyone was rated out of five on an app for everything they did?

In it, it all started out great for Lacie, who existed in a serene suburban world and a high score, however soon her rating nosedives, and she's suddenly living in a dystopian nightmare.

Well, this scorecard system has actually now become a reality in China, where it will be introduced by the Communist Party in 2020 to rank all of the country's 1.4 billion citizens out of 800, and it will be measured by more than 600 million AI-powered surveillance cameras dotted around its major cities.

Each citizen's ranking on the system, called 'social credit', will be affected by their day-to-day life choices. It can be improved by doing things such as buying Chinese-made products, or completing community service.

The scorecard rating will be lowered if citizens engage in activities such as tax evasion, smoking in non-smoking areas, or even buying groceries in supermarkets that the government disapprove of, such as alcohol or violent video games, reports the Daily Mail.

Those with the best ratings will qualify not only for the best jobs, will be able to send their children to the best schools, and even have access to the highest speed internet. Those with low ratings, however, will be barred from accessing such privileges.

The scheme has already successfully been introduced in a number of trials across China, with a pilot version tested in a province just north of Shanghai.

CBS News spoke to Chinese journalist Liu Hu, who says that during the trail he was even barred from booking a flight because he was considered 'untrustworthy'.

Speaking to the news channel, he said:

I can't buy property. My child can't go to a private school. 

You feel you're being controlled by the list all the time.

People on social media have been quick to pick up on the eerie similarities.

HT The Daily Mail

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