If it feels like somebody is watching you, well, it’s because they are.
Who is this somebody?
Pretty much anybody who wants to, that’s who:
Your insurance company and medical aid have already sold you respectively on the “benefits” of letting them track your driving habits, through your cellphone insurance app, and your lifestyle habits through your “free” Fitbit biometric monitor bracelet.
Then, last year we were all delighted to find out about the Russian app that let strangers unlock your entire digital identity from any photo of you they find of you online or take of you in real life. Lovely stuff. And you thought your privacy was “safe” because your Facebook profile is set to “private”. Lol.
However, it is not just stingy insurers and creepy-stalker-ex-boyfriends you should be concerned about…
Now Big Brother has cottoned on to the awesome population-controling ability of Big Data.
Governments around the world are building databases full of little tiny pieces of you and me.
China’s government, of course, has gone full-science fiction with its new (soon to be mandatory) “Social Credit System”. The SCS will give every one of its citizens a SCORE (aka a value to the state) based on the Big Data the Chinese government has been studiously collecting on its citizens for the past few decades. (The Chinese Big Data database already includes the facial recognition of over billion faces, DND samples from over 40 million people and a new super-cool voice-recognition programme. Nothing serious.)
Scores will be calculated based on online activity, biometric data, spending patterns and the like. Better scores will, of course, come with social benefits.
Now, let’s link the lovely little idea of a Social Score with the other lovely little idea of Universal Basic Income. Imagine a world where your livelihood is tied to your state-marketed social score. What could go wrong?
Orwell, eat your heart out. We’re doing better than you ever imagined.