Chinese officials are intent on developing and implementing a ‘social credit system’ which would be able to assess a person’s behavior over a range of commercial and social activities and generate a score for that person. In doing so, it hopes to create a reason for people to be more honest and “neighborly” by having this information easily accessible. Others would be able to see your score and be better able to understand you as a person without ever having to interact with you. This is indicative of a Type A characteristic because it has allowed for a better understanding of society and the people within it through the dissemination of dominant information. However, there could be a problem with this system, as Schiller points out, “such systems can quickly become coercive or directive – a way for the government to introduce norms of behavior and then punish people who don’t follow along”.
The Chinese officials realize that a system like this would allow them to better understand the public by looking at large trends of social behavior and could lead to a better relationship between the state and its citizens. This is demonstrated by Creemer who stated, “[D]ata allows us to make society for better, so we’re going to use it”.
The idea of using the information gathered to benefit the society also aligns with the Type A characteristics, so in this class why do we see the making of metrics and information gathering as a Right Sided characteristic? The Chinese social credit system is really no different than documenting personal usage of time and spending. Maybe it is because of the thought of not aligning with the metric being used as a ‘control’ mechanism in the same way that it is represented in this article. But I also feel that it is a great way to distribute dominant information that can be utilized by people to better predict the world (and in this case) the people around them. Only time will tell if the Chinese government is indeed intent on enforcing social norms through this credit system for the ‘good of the state’ or if they actually are going to use the information to better understand and work with the public to a better future.