A social experiment on social credit score in China
User test, Experiment design, Design friction, Documentary
Janel Wong, Young Jang
Research, branding, prototyping, project management
WHAT IS SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE?
China is using a scoring system to control the offline and online behavior of the citizens, similar to what happen on the Black Mirror. It will be mandatory in 2020. The score of the citizen is based on 5 criteria, including credit history, fulfillment capability, personal information, behavior and preference like shopping habit, and interpersonal relationship.
The social credit score system works very similar to the Black Mirror episode Nosedive. Your social score is influenced by your network, your social media behavior or even your purchase history.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THIS PROJECT?
The goal of the assignment is to generate discussion. We think the best way to have conversation is to experience it.
We are curious to see if the same thing happened in our society. What will the impact be like to have a scoring system in a community? What would that be like in a smaller scale? What are the reaction people will have? How would people behave differently with a score?
To answer all these questions, we decided to create a social experiment in our SVA studio.
While designing the experiment, we keep in mind with the goal of the discussion.
Some mess while designing the system of the experiment.
HOW DOES THE EXPERIMENT WORK?
SET UP A SCORING SYSTEM
First, we need to set up a scoring system. What are the criteria to determine your score at the studio? For the China social credit score, the Chinese government is (indirectly) determining the criteria.
We asked our studio operation director, Gwen, who managed everything in the studio, to be the person to determine the criteria of the scoring system.
We asked her about the criteria to maintain a better place at the studio? And we got 5 main criteria to determine the score.
1. Cleaning up:
+ Cleaning up after meal, wash the dishes, wash the cup
++ Clean up for other people
+ Helping other classmates in assignment
3. Number of boxes in the fridge:
- Have molded box or undated box
4. Class participation:
- Late for class
- - Late and unprepared for class
5. Willingness to communicate:
+ Classmates are willing to talk to you
++ Classmates are willing to talk personal things to you
The goal of the experiment is to see people's behavioral change with a scoring system created by Gwen - the lead of the studio. The experiment has two parts.
Part 1 : Rate each other
In this test, they are free to rate each other based on the interaction they have with the person. For example, if a second year student is helping a first year student, their are more likely to have a higher score. Or if students are cleaning the kitchen area, other students can give them score to show appreciation. At the same time, the facilitator will be walking around to observe their behavior.
Process of Part 1
Part 2 : HIgher score & lower score
After the 1st part, each student will have a score on their label. We calculated the score on the label and based on the observation we had around the studio, we gave them an average score and then divided into two group. High score group and Low score group.
They have a sticker to indicate they are in Lower score group (Orange sticker) or Higher score group (Blue sticker).
We also divided certain areas that are restricted to higher score group so people with lower score has to leave the space.
Process of Part 2
We create artifacts like envelops, guidebook, posters and stickers for the experiment to be more engaging.
WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THE EXPERIMENT?
We interviewed participates after the experiment and we documented it in the video. Participates has mixed reactions.
People in the low score group were confused and thought the system was unfair. People in the high score group were neutral and not very outspoken about the unfairness.