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When ‘Black Mirror’ Becomes Reality 

Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ series has predicted and commented on many of modern society’s downfalls but none as terrifying as season 3’s ‘Nosedive’.

In the episode, we see lonely Lacie judged by a numeric rating given to her by her interactions with other people – better interactions can lead to a higher rating, while bad ones lead to a lower one. With lower ratings, lesser opportunities are available and vice versa, leading to the protagonist’s life crumbling after she receives too many negative votes from her peers.

A New Credit System in China Resembles ‘Nosedive’ Episode 

This ‘credit system is now appearing to be a reality according to ‘Wired‘ magazine which reports on Zhima Credit, a “personal credit” rating associated with Alipay, the main form of mobile payment in China – and the power of Zhima Credit sounds shockingly similar to that outlined in ‘Nosedive’.

As the Telegraph report, citizens will be ‘scored’ between 350 and 950. Good deeds such as donating blood, charity work or posting positive messages about the country will result in a higher rating.
However, if you’re friends with somebody ‘undesirable’ on social media or do bad deeds such as cancel a reservation, your score will go down.

“If your friends are all high-score people, it’s good for you. If you have some bad-credit people as friends, it’s not nice.”

What Comes Next in our Modern Dystopia?

As the writer of the ‘Wired’ piece was a journalist he had a low score although he never signed up to the system.  As Hvistendahl describes it: “He was banned from most forms of travel; he could only book the lowest classes of seat on the slowest trains. He could not buy certain consumer goods or stay at luxury hotels, and he was ineligible for large bank loans.”

Those with high Zhima Credit scores, however, had reverse fortunes: Lazarus Lui, who had a score of 722, was able to access: “favorable terms on loans and apartment rentals, as well as showcasing on several dating apps should he and his wife ever split up. With a few dozen more points, he could get a streamlined visa to Luxembourg.”

This credit system is set to be rolled out and trialled in 2020 and no doubt more terrifying ‘Black Mirror’ predictions will be coming true before then.


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