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The owners of China’s largest social networks, Alibaba and Tencent have partnered with the Chinese government to create something akin to the US credit score. Under the innocuous name of “Sesame Credit”, they have created a score for how good of a citizen you are.

Instead of measuring how regularly you pay your bills, it measures how obediently you follow the party line. They dredge data from your social networks. So, if you post pictures of Tiananmen Square, your Sesame Credit score goes down. Share a link from the state-sponsored news agency about how good the economy’s doing, and your score goes up.

As Alibaba and Tencent are also the largest online retailers in China, Sesame Credit is also able to pull data from your purchases. If you’re making purchases the state deems valuable, like buying work shoes or local produce, your score goes up. If you import anime from Japan though, your score goes down.

This score has real-world consequences. Having a higher score gives you special benefits, like making it easier to get the paperwork you need to travel or making it easier to get a loan. Allegedly, there are no consequences for having a low score, yet but there’s been talk about implementing penalties once the system becomes mandatory in 2020 (!) Penalties would include slower internet speeds for low-scoring citizens or even restricting the jobs that a low-scoring person’s allowed to hold.

There’s another layer to Sesame credit that goes from being repulsive to downright insidious. As all of this data is part of a social network, Sesame also scans your friends. Participants will lose points for having friends with low-obedient scores. At any point, anybody can check anyone else’s score. When you check your own score, Sesame Credit provides a handy map of your friends.

In the past, you obeyed power because you were afraid. Fear kept you motivated, but fear is negative. It fosters resentment. The world we’re stepping into instead uses positive reinforcement to promote being subservient to the will of the regime. Its big brother’s kinder, gentler hand.

The system’s not mandatory yet. For now, it’s opt-in but it will be mandatory in 2020 (!) There’s a terrible brilliance to phasing that in. Early adopters will be excited about this system. Those who are already patriotic may be eager for anything that’ll help display that patriotism to the world. As early adopters, they’ll talk it up. They’ll give it an air of being positive and fun.

Then it will be foisted on the society as a whole.

More than that though, the early adopters will compete to see who can agree with the government the most, using the psychological motivating rules identified in video games plus Big Data algorithms and artificial intelligence. It will be interesting to see how the Chinese people respond to this.

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

Alexandra Bruce

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12 comments

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  • Leave it to the Chinese government to find a new mode of control over its citizens after centuries of oppression by physical force. Their totalitarianism seems to have found a niche to continue flourishing. Neil Young put the situation and oppression of others by the USA precisely when he wrote Rocking in the Free World. “We got a kinder, gentler machine gun hand.” I suppose we’d have to edit that byline for the Chinese.

      • The central sentences he said was:
        . As long there is death, there is no freedom.
        . Love is within, inside all men.

        The only possibility is that by going inside this socalled death must die.

        In commonen sense causes emotional pains a finally death.
        So any pain, small or strong, is a part of death.

        By going inside the pain inside has to die, where death now is a partner for coming into freedom.
        This is like matter and anti-matter, where they are partners.
        Or man and woman.
        Or being and anti-being.
        Or “god” and anti-“god”.
        etc.
        Anti is nor against each other, moreover describing a partnership

        The common idea of death is: somehting is gone, has disappeared.
        This vision is not valid anymore.

        “Death” transforms life, where the informations of live wents elsewhere.
        Life transforms death, where informations of death wents inside, transformed into love energy.

  • The process is everywhere the same:
    Cut the human soul in peaces and make the appearing personalities a part of the material system. (The soul is not material!!)
    This is a nuclear splitting of human beings.
    I found a possibility for nuclear fusion inside a hman being, which creates inner healing.
    As it is said: Heaven is within.

    This splitting system is simlpy disgusting and because of this splitting system more and more personalities appear on earth. Meanwhile there are ca. 8 billions of splitted souls on earth.

    Here my question is: why had this to happen and which universal organism has the remote controle over it?

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