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.
The Chinese Minister of Culture has launched a campaign in Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces to end the practice of hiring strippers to draw crowds to funerals -- these crowds are seen as a mark of respect and status for the departed that epitomizes the virtue of "filial piety," regardless of how they are […]
Adam Greenfield (previously) is one of the best thinkers when it comes to the social consequences of ubiquitous computing and smart cities; he's the latest contributor Ian Bogost's special series on "smart cities" for The Atlantic (previously: Bruce Sterling, Molly Sauter).
According to The Hong Kong Free Press, Apple is set to hand over the keys to the the accounts of iCloud users in China to a company owned by the surveillance and censorship-happy Chinese government.Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) will take over the operation of Apple’s Chinese data center at the end of February, making GCBD […]
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Many of us enjoy the aesthetic of vintage electronics, but trying to use most hardware from the 1950’s isn’t necessarily practical. This is especially true where speakers are concerned. While most of us can appreciate the old-school feel of retro speakers, they have a hard time matching the convenience and power delivered by today’s Bluetooth speakers. […]
Python is one of the most popular and versatile programming languages used by developers today, making it an ideal first choice for those looking to kickstart a career in programming. While you could go back to school or sign up for a pricey coding bootcamp, you can learn the essentials of coding with Python at […]