All Chinese citizens now have a score based on how well they live

Categories: economy
Tags: gamification, behavioural

What? The Chinese government is building an omnipotent "social credit" system that is meant to rate each citizen's trustworthiness. The score is created by Ant Financial, an Alibaba-affiliated company that also runs Alipay, China’s popular third-party payment app with over 350 million users. Ant Financial claims that it evaluates one’s purchasing and spending habits in order to derive a figure that shows how creditworthy someone is. Passing numerical benchmarks entitles one to certain perks, like small loans or waivers on deposits.

So what? As data on all aspects of our lives grows, and become more widely available, old notions of privacy, social behaviour and norms will be challenged. Many governments will experiment with ways of improving social welfare using this data. Lacking a history of dealing with large actors using data in new ways, societies will feel out this new territory by trial and error.


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