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Are there fundamentally different ways for countries to progress into and through modernity? After all, the western model has been dominant for 200 years because of its success in doing so. But might Big Data — as controlled either by strong central states, private monopolistic businesses, or both — allow new forms of social regulation that can drive the evolution of non-western societies into modern values and beyond?
These are some of the huge questions that were brought up as Jeff Salzman, Ross Hostetter and Robb Smith looked at China’s efforts around its new “Social Credit Score,” a set of social monitoring and ranking systems that evaluate the behavior, personal characteristics, social relationships and legal conformance of Chinese citizens in order to steer its society and determine benefits within it.
Though seemingly diametrically opposed to a philosophy of individual liberty as that found in the west, it may be less so than it appears, with western versions of “social credit scores” piling up in the databases of private companies: models different by type but perhaps not much by degree. Western social credit scores—from GPA and SAT scores to social media followers— clearly have dramatic effects on people’s lives.
Even more striking, could the two grand development paths of the 21st century as posed by the US and China, actually highlight the emerging dialectic for the entire Earth over the next hundred years, with each biasing a pole of a fundamental integral polarity: a western version that privileges the individual, its agency, wholeness and rights, and an eastern one that privileges community, communion, a part and its responsibilities? Join us as we challenge our own western-centric biases as we look at China’s Social Credit Score, what just might grow to become one of the most important (and controversial) innovations of the next few decades.
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About Robb Smith
Robb Smith is a leading thinker on the Transformation Age and the global Integral movement. He is the co-founder and CEO of Integral Life.
About Ross Hostetter
Ross brings over 30 years of experience in conflict resolution, coaching, legal work, spiritual development, teaching, and communication to the Legal Evolution Group. His custom-designed leadership training and consulting practice uses complex problems as a springboard to an expanded view of who we might become.
About Jeff Salzman
Jeff Salzman worked with Ken Wilber for several years in building the Integral Institute. He is a co-founder of Boulder Integral, the first bricks-and-mortar venue dedicated to the development of integral consciousness. These days Jeff provides integrally-inspired commentary on politics and culture on Integral Life and The Daily Evolver.