China is planning to implement a social rating system that lets citizens rate each other. Social Credit Score (SCS) might come to effect by 2020, and the score will be a matter of public record for all to see.
The SCS will be given to every one of China's over 1.3 billion people based on social behaviour, reports Futurism. Everything from people's spending habits to their capacity to pay bills and even their social interactions will factor into the SCS. For this to happen, every social interaction will be monitored and judged publicly. This score will then become a basis for ranking people's trustworthiness.
While science fiction has dealt with scenarios similar to this before, they have almost always been cautionary tales, not something that a government would actually consider bringing to the real world.
The sci-fi series Black Mirror showcased such a world where people constantly rate each other based on every single interaction they have. The protagonist of the story needs better ratings to qualify for a cheap loan starts spiralling into a meltdown once she is unable to improve her score in spite of her best efforts. People in that world are forced to present a flawless, eerily happy appearance, even if they do not truly feel it or face social judgment, which is brutal.
China's citizen score, this one in real life, could be used to judge people on not just their social interactions, but also affect their access to services like loans, their ability to get jobs, and it could possibly have an effect on what kind of schools children "qualify" for.
Private companies are engaged in removing niggles in software and tweaking algorithms as it will be a data-driven network that needs to work on various platforms.
As of now, companies that are volunteering to test out SCS are China Rapid Finance (CRF) and Sesame Credit. Both of them are subsidiaries of tech giants in China. CRF is a partner of Tencent that runs WeChat – China's WhatsApp currently with over 850 million users. Sesame Credit is run by a subsidiary of Alibaba – China's Amazon – which runs AliPay. Both companies have access to immense quantities of personal data of Chinese citizens.
Tencent's SCS is currently being integrated to a chat app called QQ where scores are given between 300 and 850. Scores are assigned based on five factors: compliance, wealth, consumption behaviour, social connections, and security.
While these categories may look like giving certain sections of people an unfair advantage, it is a voluntary programme as of now.