What’s Your Social Score?

I went to the pub last week!

It was a bit like something out of a dystopian future zombie movie. When I arrived I had to hand over my details for track and trace.

The bar staff all wore masks and all transactions were card only – no cash.

It was a bit weird if I’m honest.

But I think it’s a sign of what’s to come.

As technology continues to develop it’s not only the cargo that we’ll be able to track better – but people also.

A little while ago someone sent me a joke in a Whatsapp. It’s quite funny, but I actually think it has a pretty good point too.

Phone rings…

– Hello! Gordon’s pizza?
– No sir it’s Google’s pizza.
– So it’s a wrong number? Sorry
– No sir, Google bought it.
– OK. I’d like to order, please?
– Well, Sir, do you want the usual?
– The usual? Do you know me?
– According to our caller ID data sheet, in the last 12 times, you ordered a pizza with cheeses, sausage and a thick crust.
– OK! That’s the one.
– May I suggest ricotta and rocket with sundried tomato instead?
– What? I hate vegetables.
– Your cholesterol is not good, Sir.
– How do you know?
– We crossed the number of your fixed line with your name, through the subscriber’s guide.
We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.
– Okay, but I do not want this pizza! I already take medication for that …
-“Excuse me, but you have not taken the medication regularly. I can see from our commercial database, 4 months ago you only purchased a box with 30 cholesterol tablets at Drugsale Network.
– I bought more from another drugstore.
– It’s not showing on your credit card statement.
– I paid in cash.
– But you did not withdraw that much cash according to your bank statement.
– I have another source of cash.
– This is not showing as per your last tax form – unless you bought them from undeclared income source?

-WHAT THE HELL?

– I’m sorry, sir, we only use this information with the intention of helping you.

– Enough! I’m sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp. I’m going to an island without internet, cable TV, where there is no cell phone line and no one to watch me or spy on me!

– I understand Sir, but you need to renew your passport first – it expired 5 weeks ago!

Now, I know it’s only a joke – but it has a serious undertone.

With every little bit of data we hand over to the apps, social media platforms, websites or even track and trace, we’re building a database of ourselves.

Mobile phones can already track everywhere we go, social media knows everyone you speak to – and if society goes cashless – everything you buy will be tracked too!

Then what’s the next step? Social scoring like in Black Mirror?

They’ve already got the beginnings of that in China.

Imagine a world where everything you wanted to do in life – getting a job, buying a house or even eating in a restaurant – hinged on your social score? A number calculated based on every little thing you do, from how much you drink to how polite you were to that stranger in the shop.

I think it’s a pretty terrifying thought.

How about you?

PS – If you haven’t seen the episode of Black Mirror I’m referring to I suggest you check it out – you’ll find it on Netflix.