The algorithm is simple. Users will be given a score between 350 and 950 using a rating system to determine higher and lower classes of society. From paying debts to accumulating certain qualifications, these personal credit scores issued by Zhima Credit are an attempt to coerce good behaviour in China.
You may think this sounds familiar, and you’re totally right. Nosedive, an episode from the widely acclaimed Black Mirror series draws eerily similar comparisons. The episode is set in a world where people can rate each other from one to five stars for every interaction they have, thus having an impact on their socioeconomic status.
Reports show that people who were given a rating of 550 in China were considered to be of the digital underclass. Suffering at the hands of their rating, some of the punishments include renting items that are usually free, and being ineligible for bank loans.
Those will more favourable scores had more support with rent and loans, and also found their profiles showcased on more dating sites.
China’s social credit system is technically voluntary, but will become mandatory by 2020.
Cover Image | Netflix