Ready for your social credit score?

Original article was published by Gentle Zacharias on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


So I was bopping around the internet today (I know, I know, but we all do it) and stumbled upon this discussion of our next would-be digital overlords. Is anyone but me completely terrified right now? I mean, more terrified than usual. Above and beyond the basic ambient level of terror we’ve all come to enjoy daily.

You’re telling me this company would like to compile a comprehensive list of my purchases, travel plans, location, associations, memberships, security measures… and then tie this profile they’ve made to my fingerprints and iris, so that it cannot be detached from my physical body? You’d like to do this so that you can serve me better, you say? I’m definitely not the product in this scenario, you insist?

Sorry, I’m not buying. Why would you think that no one will ever use this information to implement something similar to China’s “social credit score”?

Imagine being turned down for a job because you regularly purchase products from the business’s competitor.

Imagine neighborhoods restricted only to those who make “approved” travel and entertainment plans. “Nope, we can’t have people who buy that much anime in our country club! They’re just not our sort, old son.”

Imagine racially-motivated profiling based on stereotyping your purchases, that then dictates where you can stay when you travel.

Imagine Hobby Lobby deciding that they don’t need the gays’ dirty money anymore, and you can only shop there if you haven’t bought a beer at a Pride parade in the last five years.

Imagine not being allowed to give blood because you went to a bar once, last year, not knowing it was secretly flagged as a gay bar.

Imagine being denied credit, access to information, the ability to purchase basic supplies on the basis of a profile you can’t separate from your physical body.

Imagine someone you don’t agree with ideologically, someone you hate who makes decisions that frighten you, having this information about you, and using it to dictate where you can and can’t go, what you can and can’t do and buy and use.

Why do you think the only people who will ever have this much control over you will be people you support? Is this the kind of information you’d like (insert politician you despise) to have? Would you like that person to tell you where you can shop based on what they think of your friends?

Now deal with this.

So your three-year-old, who’s never made a purchase or an online account for anything, is now in the database. Now your three-year-old can’t go to a given preschool, because you bought something from a non-approved vendor years before they were born. That’s okay by you? You’re fine with the idea that your child has a profile that will dictate their whole life already attached to their iris at the age of three. You’re comfortable with the possibility that your ADULT child will make a choice you don’t approve of… and that choice could deny YOU the right to purchase a home in the neighborhood you like.

If you try to tell me that’s not how this system will be used, I’d like to know what world you’re living in, because it sounds much nicer than this one.