The Truth in “Black Mirror”

The popular British television show Black Mirror is known for analyzing the repercussion of technology on a dystopian society. In the episode Nosedive, a one-to-five star rating system has been implemented, through the use of ocular implants, to rate your daily interactions with others.

Any negative rating you receive during the course of the day will effect your overall rating; making your ability to purchase an apartment, car, or even a plane ticket more difficult. We follow Lacie Pound as she strives to raise her rating and climb up the social latter. When going to board a plane for her friend’s wedding, Lacie’s flight is cancelled. She ends up causing a scene, lowering her rating, and is unable to afford a ticket. A comedy of errors occur, resulting in Lacie in prison stripped of all material possession.

The writers based this episode on China’s Social Credit System. the Social Credit Score (SCS) is designed to oversee human behavior; assess spending, and rate interactions. The Social Credit Score Rate individuals publicly. Social Networking company Tencent, has created an app where the individual can receive a score between 300-850. Facial recognition software and CCTV are being instituted throughout the country to document the every move of citizens. All of China will be effected by the possibility of being blacklisted, but this is especially concerning for minority groups like the Uyghurs who live in the Xinjiang Provence.

The Uyghurs are a Turkish ethnic group who have been acknowledged as one of 55 “officially recognized ethnic minorites”. Predominately Sunni Muslim, the Uyghurs make up a total population of 1.6 million. The Uyghurs claim to have settled in Xinjiang over 4000 years ago. The Chinese government instead want to label the Uyghurs as Han Chinese, forcing them to give up their identity. If Uyghurs decided to protest nonviolently, the Social Credit Score system would blacklist them immediately via ID card. Doing so makes an individual unable to shop for groceries, open a social media account, and withdraw money from the bank. The Uyghurs are facing the threat of cultural genocide on a daily basis. Re-education Camps and Crematoriums have been built by the Chinese Government near their settlement in Xinjiang. In Islam it is considered “unholy” for the bodies of the dead to be cremated. However, it is common in Chinese culture for the dead to undergo cremation. The Chinese government is slowly forcing their culture unto the Uyghur population, making it nearly impossible for The Uyghurs to express their independence.

Under the oppressive nature of constant facial recognition, CCTV, and pending Social Credit System the Uyghurs are used as guinea pigs while the Chinese government continues perfecting the ideal dystopian future. Currently, this is happening to the Uyghurs. Realistically, it could happen to anyone anywhere.

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