Inside China's Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking

Mara Hvistendahl, Wired, Dec 16, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This article descibes China's embrace of electronic payments using WeChat and Alipay, and discusses its extension into personal credit. It them suggests a linkage between various plans to allocate people 'social credit' according to their social behaviour (for example, whether they were charged with offenses, whether they disrupted spociety). In fairness, it then contrasts these with credit rating systems in North America. It raises questons about the surveillance such systems require, and questions the accuracy of the ratings that result. Yes, social credit could be employeed as an unaccountable means of social control. On the other hand, it could be a way to finally address the problem of corruption and cheating in society.

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