China's new social credit score for citizens starts paying dividends

Yesterday was a good day for Mei-Hua Li. Her offer on her dream apartment was accepted, her internet speed got bumped up three notches (for free) and she was offered a paid internship in the Chinese president’s office. Sure sounds like she hit the trifecta!

Li has clearly mastered the gamified social security system that is Sesame Credit. She has stopped buying non-Chinese products and chose a Masters degree topic of ‘Sustaining China’s Resource Relationship with the African Continent’. She has also been on antibiotics only once in the past year and all of these things have made the government happy, very happy indeed.

With Sesame Credit, the government has created an information repository containing data relating to grocery buying habits, online shopping, transport usage, debt repayments and social media postings. Citizen scores are available for everyone to view and literally boil your prospects down to three digits. The days of hypocritical or dishonest behaviour are therefore numbered.

No harm done, right? It will only nudge people to behave more like they should and put everyone in charge of their own prosperity – or lack thereof. Surely no government would think of abusing a system which promotes model citizenship, would they? But rumors are already flying about special online courses which train you to game the system to the max!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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