It may sound like something out of a dystopian novel, but China is introducing a scorecard system to keep track of its citizens.
Set to be introduced by its Communist Party in 2020, the scorecard system will rank the country’s 1.4 billion citizens out of 800. Residents will be monitored by over 200 AI-powered surveillance cameras throughout China’s major cities, which use facial recognition, body scanning, and geo-tracking technology.
Dubbed “social credit,” citizens will be rated on their daily activities and lifestyle choices. For example, their rank can be improved by doing things such as purchasing Chinese-made products, or undertaking community service.
Conversely, citizens can be downgraded for actions such as tax evasion, criticising the Government, or smoking in non-smoking areas. However, they can also be knocked down a peg if they engage in activities that aren’t illegal but the Government frowns upon, such as drinking alcohol or playing violent video games.
Those with the highest ratings are entitled to the best jobs, can attend the best universities, get discounted loans, and and even faster internet. While those with low ratings can expect no such priviledges, and can even be outright barred from private schools and certain industries.
The scheme has already been trialled in parts of China, which the Government deemed a success.
And people have already noticed the eerie similarity between the situation in China and the season three premiere of Black Mirror, called ‘Nosedive.’
— Kelly Mitchell (@KellyMitchell) September 19, 2018
China starting a social credit system in 2020 like that episode of black mirror is sooo scary wtf ?
— martha (@_marthagall) September 20, 2018
China: the only country who views @blackmirror as a manifesto rather than a dystopian parody
— Trigger ☝️ (@3474D1ck9R4V17Y) September 20, 2018
In the episode, Lacie (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) lived in a dystopian future where everyone was rated out of 5 for everything they did. At the beginning, Lacie with her 4.2 rating had the perfect life, which is turned upside down when her score takes a nosedive.
But for Chinese journalist Liu Hu, who lives in one of the trial areas, Lacie’s nightmare scenario has already crossed over to the real world.
Hu fell foul of the Chinese government due to a series of tweets he wrote. He was forced to apoligize, but was then further chastised because his apology was considered “insincere.”
He told CBS News: “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.”
Hu wasn’t even allowed to buy a plane ticket as he was considered “untrustworthy.”
With China taking after Black Mirror, and America heading the way of the Handmaid’s Tale, we wonder what disturbing piece of dystopian fiction will next become reality?