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.
Despite Trump’s denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble — which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we’ll be burning all of them with impunity — is about to pop.
Last December, I published my review of Andrew “bunnie” Huang’s astoundingly great book The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware — without realizing that the book’s release had been delayed because the published decided to do some very fancy and cool stuff with the printing process.
China’s explosive growth as the world’s factory powerhouse is almost impossible to overstate: the largest migration in human history took place when 80 million young women left the provinces to come to the Pearl River Delta for the new manufacturing jobs, and China began building new megacities across its landmass to serve as the hubs […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]