If you have a Weibo account, you would have realised over the last few weeks people have been sharing their Sesame scores. Weibo by the way is the Chinese equivalent to Twitter. Sesame currently is optional but is scheduled to become mandatory by the year 2020. It is a project of the Chinese Government in partnership with Tencent that have stakes in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG).
Gain or lose points with Sesame Credit
If you are familiar with the credit rating system used in the United States, then you have a working understanding of how Sesame would work. The difference would be that you gain or lose points not only from your financial history of purchases but also from your behaviour, both in the real world and on social media. If you make anti-government posts on social media you would lose points. If you buy Japanese Manga you would lose points. In turn, if you buy locally produced products, you would gain points. If you order work shoes you would gain points.
Sesame Credit sounds simple or not?
Since you started reading this article, it all seems simple right? Wrong. Points would also be deducted from you based on the behaviour of your friends. Since the scores would be available for everyone to see, you would be able to tell which one of your friends is dragging you down. Also, you will be judged by your online purchases.
Who is behind Sesame Credit
As mentioned, Sesame is a project of the Chinese Government and Tencent with business in Riot games, Epic games and Activision/Alizzard games. So with the experience of World of Warcraft behind them you know that it will be a quality product. Third partner in this venture is Alibaba. In case you don’t know what is Alibaba, it is the Asia version of Amazon.
Designed to modify human behaviour
In simpler terms, one of the largest game developers, with the largest online retailers and the Government of the largest country have developed a game that is designed to modify human behaviour. It is expected to be used by all companies encompassing, but at the moment just a few are part of the programme, e.g. Baihe.com.
Baihe.com is the largest matchmaking service in China and users are encouraged to flaunt their scores.
The result is clients with higher social credit scores are given a place of prominence on the dating site. This would prove to be very important post 2020 when your Sesame Credit score will actually affect you in the real world.
Sesame Credit has a penalty and reward system
By now you are probably saying that it doesn’t sound too bad, just like a really immersive version of Second Life or World of Warcraft. Again, you are wrong. There are some serious real world consequences for Chinese citizens that find themselves with a low score.
As mentioned above, it would affect your chances of attracting a mate, since your score would be factor in terms of compatibility. Low scores would bar you from attaining certain jobs or keeping them if you already have them. You would find yourself using slower internet, and not being able to access government services in a timely manner. In other words, if you want to live a happy and productive life you would just have to follow the rules, because everything is being tracked. To ensure that everyone is on board, remember the behaviour and scores of your friends and family would be factored in forcing you to nudge them into conformance.
What activists say
This may sound like the plot of a video game set in some dystopian future, but it is happening now. Activists have all chimed in about the invasive way that the Chinese Government seems to want to control its citizens.
With crime rates on the upsurge around the world who is to say that this may just be what society needs, peer pressure for adults to do the right thing. For the time being the early adopters have all been positive about Sesame Credit. These are people who are patriotic, and follow the party line, so basically they have nothing to lose. In 2020, we will see how this will pan out when it becomes mandatory that year.
April 2017 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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