Chinese Social Credit System - Is the Devil So Terrible?

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The Chinese social security system is frighteningly gaining momentum. It seems that all the countries of the world have conspired and promise us digitalization to the ears. In Moscow, the number of cameras with face recognition technology is increasing. Venezuela, Mongolia, Ecuador and even Zimbabwe are customers of Chinese IT companies for the development of such systems.

Some recall the Black Mirror, others associate it with our everyday life with the implication “get ready, death itself will soon arrive in Russia.” Let's try to start a motor of critical thinking. Is it really frightening for us?

Digital dictatorship

The Chinese plan to launch a social credit system by 2020. They create it as a self-regulating system of milder totalitarianism, so that people with the help of manipulative intimidating tools themselves lead themselves to the "correct" behavior.
It turns out all in a classic: whoever owns the information, owns the world.

It all started with the fact that in China there was no single scoring system until 2015, when Ant Financial, the daughter of Alibaba Group, came up with its own ( Zhima Credit ) and granted access to it to the People's Bank of China. Well, as it provided, when the government saw this as a benefit, it softly forced itself . The IT companies that created the technology have come under pressure ... although they probably won't get used to it. Not that business in Russia ... though, what am I talking about?

All payments in China (even on the market) are made through the Alipay national payment system. Everything is stored in it: personal data of a different sort and infa on all aspects of a person’s life (what kind of car he buys, what kind of education he receives, and many, many different things). Nothing escapes the big Chinese eye. The social credit system at the government level, of course, is not limited to payments alone. Everything is much more serious.

By the 20th year, an additional 626 million cameras with face recognition technology will be installed across China throughout the existing 178 million. It is as if on average 4 cameras monitored every citizen of Russia around the clock. So the big brother will follow the Chinese everywhere, and not just follow, but also charge a rating depending on behavior. Universal hysteria is also reinforced by the fact that it can not only rise, but also decline.


I bought diapers - well done, + n to the rating, I played games for several hours in a row - minus the rating. But what if I, for example, just moved from the needle of male approval to video games and hate children? (joke). The list of contacts also affects the rating, and users have no choice but to rate a person for the size of his rating. And you say the size doesn’t matter ...

If you look, to put it mildly, not very, and you can’t say that you are a “white” person, then most likely a Chinese citizen will not even add you to the list of contacts. Nothing personal, just a rating ... Well, whoever has a poor rating does not travel with a breeze and does not drink Chivas.

If you still tape webcam, then probably in vain, because we, apparently, are entering the era of digital dictatorship. Confidentiality is at stake. In Moscow , the number of cameras with face recognition technology is increasing . The FindFace application , which allowed you to photograph an asshole smoking in your face on the street and find him on social networks to tax, attracted the attention of the state, which became its main customer and closed the technology from prying eyes. And with the craftsmen who created a similar service SearchFace, VK is trying to fight .

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The risks

My brain, technically educated and experienced in development, rushed to think towards implementation. What criteria of correctness and incorrectness will the system take into account? What is the likelihood of her breaking? Who will ultimately decide on the fate of the violator based on the findings of the system? Questions are open.

If we assume that the face recognition system, neural networks and the cameras themselves have a total error of 0.01% (is this even possible?), Then multiplying this by 626 million cameras, we get that approximately 62 thousand cameras will attribute erroneous violations not to those people.

For example, in the Chinese city of Ningbo fined entrepreneur Dong Michzhu for the transition to red for pedestrians, but the most Dun was not there. The system recognized her face on a bus that was driving on green (I wonder if sticking a photo of a neighbor would work?).

A photo
Photo "violator"

Journalist Liu Hu could not buy a flight ticket due to a fine that he had already paid. He sent the check to the judge, but he simply did not answer. The guy cannot leave the country.

Stuffing from a system with potential errors, a human factor, a possible hack and unknown evaluation criteria gave me in my head a potential list of countries where I could dump from such a system, but did not come up with anything, because, as I wrote above, even Zimbabwe implements a similar the system.


Most likely, for people who simply live as average friends and comrades you and I have, this rating is on the side. He will have an average good one. And we have already found out who has a good rating - he eats pies from the shelf and, at least, can fly out of the country.

In general, I like technological progress, but either we are indignant that Russia weaves felt boots, we are indignant at its successes in, as it seems to us, “terrible” technologies. Digitalization is our inevitable future. Guys, just say A, let's talk B. We want new technologies, convenience and development, let's reap the fruits of people's mental processes "at the top". You and I are not naive guys to think that they will create unmanned free trams for us, but at the same time, the next Yarovaya with its next package based on this technology will not be announced? Or maybe the system will be punished by the fact that only the trustworthy will ride the metro for free thanks to face recognition technology? Well, that's how I am, fantasizing.

Even with the fact that the Chinese government swore three times when it was stunned by the 9 thousand corrupt officials identified by the system and decided to cover up the service for officials, what is bad for us? Some of those officials were reprimanded, some were fired. The scourge of our country may not decrease to 0 from such technologies, but at least it could potentially decrease. At a minimum, lazy bureaucrats with a numbed brain are tormented by inventing methods for collecting tribute bypassing the system.


So maybe life for us will not change in any way, and we will still go to work at 7 in the morning and push around in the metro priests? Here are just a pickpocket who stole your wallet in the crowd, or a dude who freaked out from the frailty of being in the subway and stuffed the face of a guy who accidentally pushed him, it will be easier to find. Incidentally, I have often come across similar situations - not a lot of pleasant things.

Now the measure of punishment is determined entirely by the human factor, and with a similar system, the responsibility for detecting violations will be divided by 2, since the system will also participate in the assessment. The possibility of evasion, even if it does not go to absolute zero, but will decrease for sure.

And here's another from personal. Nobody will use your ticket to the Universal Orlando amusement park for $ 200, because you were photographed at the entrance, and before you let go for the next attraction, they compare the photo on the ticket and your face using face recognition technology. A trifle, but nice ...

And let's not be hypocritical and cunning, it’s much calmer for us if there is a DVR in the car, a camera in the entrance, and a child with a GPS navigator in order to (horror!) Track his movements. My friend hooked a bracelet on a child with this function: you call him on the bracelet and eavesdrop on what is happening around. And we deliberately use these technologies. We ourselves teach children to be calm about total control. They will be accustomed by the time the system appears.


Back to the Chinese. The social credit system involves the use of a whole range of various complex technologies - computer vision, in particular, recognition of faces and images, neural networks, Big Data, machine learning.

According to Gartner, any system has a hype peak and the next plateau of productivity. If we talk about neural networks as the basis of the system, then they are just on the wave of high expectations, and to the plateau of productivity they still like cancer to China. And, as a rule, more is expected from all hype systems at the peak than they actually can.


Big Data generally involves the collection, storage and processing of data of such a scale that Spring with her bag rests. What capacities will be needed for the population of China, I can’t even imagine.

But, of course, the Chinese will launch the system, albeit not by the 20th, but by the 30th year. And still, the last word in such a system is likely to remain with the person.

“The National Center for Information on Social Credit of China has prepared a report from which it follows that in 2018 information was collected on 14 million cases of violations that lead to a decrease in the social rating of companies and individuals (such as consumer fraud, loan delinquency, advertising introducing misleading and so on). To date, almost 4 million legal entities have been blacklisted (they will be prohibited from participating in government procurements, land auctions, and so on), 17.5 million people cannot buy air tickets, 5.5 million people cannot buy train tickets. In addition, it is more difficult for people from the “black lists” to buy insurance, real estate and financial instruments. In some cases, information about “violators” was published in open sources to “shame” them. ”
Varlamov News

17.5 million people for China is 1.2% of the population. In Russia, the share of citizens with incomes below the subsistence level for 2018 amounted to 14.2% of the country's population. These are those people who do not need to block access to buying tickets, for example, they basically can’t buy a ticket.

And even the law on the isolation of the Internet in order to protect it looks scary exactly until you read about the initiators of the law - a lawyer-entrepreneur, a teacher of Russian language and literature, and a former convict. And for everything about everything, the guys need 1.8 billion budget rubles, and after that also 20 ... Yes, Russia is not China, we do not have an intranet, everything is somehow different.
Let everything at the moment look like a lame horse, but, in my opinion, the officials themselves are digging a hole for themselves.

Internet isolated from the main threat

The introduction of a full-fledged well-functioning system that clearly performs its functions, as for me, is an ideal picture of a world where corrupt officials suffer, where no one wants to hit the other in the face because they have drunk, and children can go out into the yard alone ... I haven’t I saw it as a child, remember?

And in fact, we don't know a damn thing whether this is good or bad. But ... we are people, it is easier for us to think in a negative direction.

Farida Roslovets

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