The Extra Credits video series has a great segment on Sesame Credit, the Chinese government's public-private "reputation economy" that uses your social media postings, purchases and known associates to assign you a public score rating your citizenship and reliability.
As EC points out, the private suppliers to this system give it a particularly sinister character: Tencent, the Chinese company that operates one of the largest social media networks in China as well as owning large stake in many western games companies; and Alibaba, the giant electronic retailer that is even bigger in China than Amazon is in the USA.
By gamifying the system, the politburo will get citizens to police each other -- making sure that their friends and relatives aren't engaging in conduct that brings down their scores. It's a kind of cost-effective, soft, "positive reinforcement" that shortcuts the usual popular anger created by heavy-handed policing -- the social equivalent to the 50 Cent Army, who backstop China's censorship system with astroturf comments that undermine the credibility and reputation of anyone who raises questions about fairness and corruption.
The system is voluntary now, but the politburo says it will be mandatory by 2020. Already the participants in the "game" are behaving in precisely the way that the politburo wants them to: by policing the people on their friends lists, evincing politically palatable beliefs, and making purchases of the sort they are directed to make.
My friend and Cool Tools partner, Kevin Kelly created a 36-part lecture series about the future for China Mobile. He’s running them on his YouTube channel. The first one is about the future of the Internet in China. There are three big challenges in the Internet space that all countries must face in the near […]
Laura Gao was born in Wuhan before moving to the US at the age of 3. An experienced graphic designer who now works for Twitter, Gao has been — understandably — frustrated with the virulant racism that’s accompanied the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and Trump’s continued insistence on blaming China for the virus. […]
It’s been suggested by experts for some time now that the COVID-19 situation is far more dire in Iran than the nation’s government has been willing to admit. According to Iran, 10,000 of its citizens have been infected with the novel coronavirus, of which 429 have died. However, satellite images that appear to show mass […]
If you’ve ever tried to shoot your own videos, you know the equipment costs to do it right can mount up quickly. Even if you’re fine with capturing video on your trusty smartphone, you still need a mount to keep your phone in place. And you’ll need a mic to augment your smartphone’s not so […]
“The whole point of a programming language is to get the most out of the computer and the developer…This is why I like Python so much…few Python developers write code that is difficult to pass on to another developer.” With so much in tech so inherently complicated, that comment from Thomas Hatch, CTO and co-founder […]
In baseball, utility players often stay employed almost exclusively because of their versatility, their ability to slide effortlessly into a variety of needed roles and remain productive. Your current tech setup doesn’t need to work any differently — except that tech items are usually created to fulfill just one purpose. But if you want a […]