Stage 2
17:15 - 17:45
Gamified Control? China's Social Credit Systems


2014 China’s government announced the implementation of big data based social credit systems (SCS). The SCS will rate online and offline behavior to create a score for each user. One SCS is planned to become mandatory in 2020. Functioning on gamification, these systems combine powerful tools to influence its users.
The lecture will review the current state of governmental and private SCS, the ideological background, the power of (big) data, cybernetics and gamification in- and outside of China.


In 2014 China's Communist Party (CP) published a “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020)”. The CP announced the system to be mandatory for every Chinese person in 2020. It is no theoretical babbling about something happening in a far future: The CP started experimenting with such social credit systems (SCS) in different regions soon after, allowed the private development of such systems, and was cited to become world leader of SCS. While the official goal of the SCS is to level economic development and to bring harmony, sincerity and trust to the whole country, the question is what the “side effects” might be.

Starting with a review of the current state of social credit systems (SCS) in China, examples of their functions and examples of consequences of their existence will be provided. This information will be embedded into a short walk through the People's Republic's Internet landscape, its big players, and the CP's digital policies. In the following this will be set it in relation to current ideological turns and the CP's announcement to become the world leader in SCS.
China's SCS is seen as an extreme example of a tendency that has developed in most industrialized countries. It displays what can be drawn from the huge amount of information provided by us via ICTs and so-called “social media”. And it can show possible consequences of the combination of big data and nearly endless storage on one hand and evaluation by algorithms on the other. From the point of view that this aspect of digitalization is not a problem of the Chinese but for all of us, it will lead to the question how critical thinking and dissenting actions can develop in a reality that is constantly rating behavior to create a score that will be defining vast parts of our life. Ending in a discussion on possibilities of big data based social rating, cybernetics, and social control and modes of dissent and resistance.