Accusations of “Big Brother” and worried about being judged are things I hear frequently. China’s social credit system is held up as a scary example, even though there is no national system and it is only being experimented with in local areas. Some people think that a system that tries to encourage people to behave in a better manner is Socialist. Other’s worry that it is an attempt to go around judicial systems. People also worry about misinformation, people gaming the system or falsely accusing someone of something.
Sure. Any of these concerns have a hint of truth someplace – but that does not mean they are true. Case in point, we have been measured and given scores for hundreds of years already, and no one seems to mind it. Here are some of the examples of how you are currently measured, tracked and judged.
Credit Score – The most obvious score is a credit score. If you have a bad credit score, you cannot buy a house or work in many places. You will not be able to get a credit card, which means you probably cannot easily travel or take care of emergency situations. Not having credit makes it hard to survive. Yet somehow we all accept a credit score as normal.
Better Business Bureau, Dun & Bradstreet – Businesses are judges by systems of tracking complaints, credit worthiness and how businesses respond to issues. This is an accepted system and businesses even advertise their good rating to show how responsible and dependable they are.
Online Dating – Early dating systems actually rated people on hotness. People thought it was fun. Now systems are a bit more responsible but participants still fill out data profiles and allow systems to try to match them with other people, possibly leading to the biggest decision of their life.
Online Ratings, Yelp, Amazon Reviews – Anyone selling something is open to judgement from buyers in the form of ratings, testimonials and other scoring systems built into online trust portals like Yelp, Amazon and eBay.
Grades in School – Talk about judging people. School grades go back hundreds of years. The consequences of one teacher not liking you could result in the one bad grade that keeps you out of an Ivy League school and changes your earnings and future forever.
Job Performance – At work, you should hope there is some measuring going on. If your raise and job performance just depend on someone’s whim, you are not in a very professional work environment. And you better kiss a lot of butt if you cannot rely on metrics to prove your worth.
Profiled Based On Decisions – Big data is huge databases filled with data about you that draws on a lot of factors. Where do you live? What car do you drive? What is your education level? Income? This data is used all the time to manipulate you to buy things or do things.
Purchases – Yes, your purchases are tracked and you are offered upgrades and other services. Why do you think every big store has their own card? To track what you do in store. My grocery store knows my diet inside and out. And I often get coupons printed on the fly at the cashier for things that I would likely want to buy.
Social Media – Participating in social media is giving huge data sets about you to the rest of the world. Not only is it used by other people, but it is used by the social media companies to offer advertising, which can sell you things but also can modify your thinking and collect your information by asking you to do a survey or give your opinion on something.
These are examples of some of the many ways you are already being measured. The point I am making (and the point of GR8TR) is not that this is all bad. It is sometimes used for bad purposes, but other times it makes our lives more fun or convenient. Without measurements, we would be subject to even more whims and biases. Measurement, when done well, result in more fairness.
GR8TR is founded on the principles of collecting and storing social behavior and rewarding people and organizations with better behavior. Transparency and a clear vision of being unbiased scoring, along with rewards instead of penalties, make it a system that will be trusted more than current systems that are used but full of imperfections, loop holes and biased inputs.