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Yet another ‘Black Mirror’ episode is becoming reality

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Dave Fawbert
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Black Mirror

We’re starting to think Charlie Brooker might just be a genuine, bona fide time traveller.

Sure, the ‘Black Mirror’ creator’s prediction of the Prime Minister getting intimate with a pig might have just been a lucky guess, but with every prediction coming true we get the impression Brooker might know more than he’s letting on.

The ‘Brass Eye’ and ‘Nathan Barley’ veteran, who recently shared some more information on the upcoming fourth season of his dystopian show, has seen things coming plenty of times in the past.

Robots of a similar size to the bees in season three episode ‘Hated in the Nation’ are already in development, while the show also predicted a new iPhone feature.

However, news coming out of China suggests we might get another ‘Black Mirror’ feature becoming reality.

Black Mirror

WIRED UK has delved into China’s ‘Social Credit System’, which currently exists on an opt-in basis, and it all sounds very familiar.

The system will aim to develop a score for each citizen of the country, based on ‘trustworthiness’, with the publication citing the following description of the system.

‘It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility.’

People’s scores will be determined by a wide range of their day-to-day activities, and has been described as ‘very ambitious’ in the factors it plans to include.

Factors used to determine people’s scores currently include credit history, ability to fulfil contractual obligations, personal characteristics, behaviour and preference, and interpersonal relationships.

However, while we’ll surely see more specifics if and when the system becomes mandatory in 2020 (as is the plan), we can’t help but feel we’ve seen a version of this already, thanks to Brooker.

In the ‘Black Mirror’ episode ‘Nosedive’, citizens receive a score out of five which is affected by each of their interactions with those around them (the scoring in the Chinese system is broader, going from 350 up to a maximum of 950).

Lead character Lacie, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, aims to improve her rating to move into a luxury apartment complex, only to see a series of events move her score in the opposite direction.

Whether the Chinese system ends up having a similarly dystopian ending remains to be seen, but people are approaching it with caution from the outside.

Perhaps most worryingly, WIRED UK suggests people’s scores can be approved through positive social media messages about the government or economy of the country, however there’s another curious coda to the system.

‘If someone they are connected to online posts a negative comment, their own score will also be dragged down,’ the article explains.

It’s never been more important to choose your friends carefully.

(Images: Netflix)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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