The Coming Social Credit System

Sep 28, 2020 by

By Rod Dreher, The American Conservative:

Regular readers know that my belief is that the coming “soft totalitarianism” will rely on a social credit system, like the one the Chinese use, to control the masses and to compel conformity without having to use “hard” methods…

…“China is about to become something new: an AI-powered techno-totalitarian state,” writes journalist John Lanchester. “The project aims to form not only a new kind of state but a new kind of human being, one who has fully internalized the demands of the state and the completeness of its surveillance and control. That internalization is the goal: agencies of the state will never need to intervene to correct the citizen’s behavior, because the citizen has done it for them in advance.”

…The great majority of Chinese pay for consumer goods and services using smartphone apps or their faces, via facial recognition technology. These provide consumer convenience and security, making life easier for ordinary people. They also generate an enormous amount of personal data about each Chinese individual, all of which the government tracks.

In theory, police don’t have to show up at the suspect’s door to make him pay for his disobedience. China’s social credit system automatically tracks the words and actions, online and off, of every Chinese citizen, and grants rewards or demerits based on obedience….

…Because digital life, including commercial transactions, is automatically monitored, Chinese with high social credit ratings gain privileges. Those with lower scores find daily life harder. They aren’t allowed to buy high speed train tickets or take flights. Doors close to certain restaurants. Their children may not be allowed to go to college…

…If you don’t believe that the left — woke capitalists, universities, and other institutions — would jump to implement such a system, as part of a plan to rid the world of racism, of homophobia, of transphobia, of bigoted Christianity, political dissenters, and so forth, you are living in denial. It’s coming, and it’s coming hard.

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