Fans of contemporary series and science fiction in general will remember the first and harrowing episode of the third season of the dystopian “Black Mirror” series. This episode it is narrated how society is governed by the qualifications that every citizen makes about our work, our interactions and our dealings with the rest of individuals. Thus, third persons can qualify us from 0 to 5 stars according to our behavior and, according to the average score, we will be entitled to certain benefits such as access to the purchase of a good house, being able to attend luxury parties, etc., or on the contrary: we will be restricted from accessing certain premises or we will be dismissed from work. Within this society where reputation commands, a young woman with a promising future ends up becoming an unhappy woman when she finds herself trapped in a wave of bad grades produced by a series of misinterpretations, which leads the viewer tothink about how the power of comments in the Internet can affect our offline life.
The inspiration for a new social order
This excellent script whose history is created to make us think about the abuses that new technologies can affect our society, far from remaining only on paper at the level of other stories of Orwell, Huxler or Bradbury, seems to have been the source of inspiration for a country to implement such nonsense.
Thus, China has advanced its plans to adopt a similar scoring system from 2020, year in which its citizens will have to worry about having an impeccable online reputation whether they do not want to have a slower Internet connection or have restrictions when applying for a loan, applying for a job, or using public services, just to mention some examples. Once again, reality far exceeds fiction.
How would “Black Mirror China” work?
The system that aims to be established in the Asian giant in just two years would classify citizens according to their reliability: from model citizens to second class citizens. And this would be done based on an algorithm that analyzes the trace and digital identity of each person.
This algorithm would consider factors such as thethe comments we made in forums, product sheets, discussions in social networks, online purchases we made, web pages we visited, music listened to and other personal tastes. In short, it would track absolutely our entire online cycle life since we use the internet.
How to avoid the consequences of the scoring system
The implementation of a society governed by online reputation would suppose that we would have to exert a thorough control of every movement we made in hyperspace, as well as avoiding any dispute or misinterpretation that could ruin our good image. By being retroactive, if these measures are applied in any other country we should have the tools and methods to solve the online reputation crisis without leaving a trace of our doubtful or misinterpreted actions, since a peculiarity of the online universe is that everything we do is permanently reflected.Therefore, the best way to avoid a low score is a responsible use of the internet, where our online reflection corresponds to our real reflection.
The reflection that China missed
What the Black Mirror writers intended to expose and denounce with this chapter called “Nosedive”, which the Chinese authorities have not seemed to understand (or did not want to do), is that there are currently two parallel realities: what we project in the real world and what we project in the online medium.
Within this second universe, appearances rule over reality: this way we worry more about leaving Instagram followers than to stay connected with old friends.
In that same universe of appearances, some of our actions, apparently harmless, can bring greater consequences than we would dare to wish in the real world. Thus, an exposed comment about bad habits, can be read by the head of recruitment of the company to which we chose to work and stay without that desired position or, in the opposite direction, our derogatory comment towards the restaurant that did not offer us the quality that we expected can entail a substantial loss of customers.
Therefore, any online action, being subject to a reaction of equal measure, should be previously reflected and taken care of as much as it was done in the real world, as well as ensuring that our avatars and social profiles reflect only what we want to show.