I warned you this could happen, but you said no, it was too Orwellian, and could only metastasize in authoritarian societies. It doesn’t have to be invisible cameras in your home that watch your every move, or your television set looking back at you.
The beauty of this surveillance is that you don’t have a clue. In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.
Of course the new Maoist China would lead the way in devising a social credit system that could control and punish its proletariat. Chairman Xi would make Mao proud of his use of technology to again grasp a stronghold on the people.
What exactly is China doing? According to the Chinese government, (their words, not mine) the ultimate goal [of the social credit system] is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” (Was the term heaven just invoked?).
So just what transgressions can a card-carrying comrade become undesirable to those pulling the strings? Well, there are many. Ranging from support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.
An interesting mix of social and financial control. Portions of this manifesto can be seen in our own society, and what better place for its genesis than Silicon Valley. You can almost see the lithium-induced spittle on the side of Bernie Sanders’ mouth as he blushes approval of this plan. In fact, many of the above-mentioned sins are already on the fascist list of the tolerant left. Criticizing Trump on a daily basis, smoking in public places, and our version of Tibetan Buddhism; the illegal alien.
The West in general views this as a B.F. Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. So how could this happen here? Well, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies. I hate when we have to check-mark those little boxes on websites.
It can give one the feeling of being disrobed. Insurance companies are getting into the act. The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. Uh, oh. Wearing that swastika armband on “Hogan’s Heroes” theme night could cost you.
Bad behavior, while staying at an Airbnb or riding in an Uber, won’t get your hands cut off, but it could ban you from using their sites for no reason at all. It’s that little box you clicked on again. In China the decision where to draw the line between good and evil, or should I say evil and eviler, is left to the government. The proles have no say. It seems that these larger left-leaning big data firms are making these decisions ipso facto, while the feds sit on their hands, pretending not to see what’s happening. It all leads to a road you don’t want to go down boys and girls unless of course you like to honeymoon in the Soviet Union.