The Fault, Dear Humans, Is Not In Our Tools, But In Ourselves

An interesting little article here from Charlie Stross (h/t Winchell Chung), concerning China’s new “credit score” system that incorporates all sorts of other social information and which looks to be shaping up into a horrendous mechanism of total social control, the way they’re using it.

This, of course, is relevant to our SFnal interests around here, seeing as the Empire, among other polities of the Worlds, is very much into the use of reputation networks and gamification for all sorts of purposes.

…of course, confronted with this sort of thing, the great and the good *there* pretty much shrug. Of course outworlder barbarians turn simple, benign technologies into grotesque engines of mass oppression! That’s what barbarians do, definitionally – what do you expect from korasmóníëdwelling madmen, hardwired for conformity and for seeing said conformity as a virtue, with no civilized sense of tratalmir ulkith? It certainly shouldn’t be that they’d use empowering technologies in rational, life-enhancing ways like us decent, civilized, letter-and-spirit-of-the-Contract-adherent folks.

In short: shit happens in the Periphery.


(It ruins their society-level rep score, though.)


Having used the word, guess I should define it, huh?

sédármódan (pej.):

  1. Democrat.
  2. Voter.
  3. Mutual slaver (lit. “owned owner-of-sophonts”); compare dármódan (“slaver”).

It should be noted that the definition of this term reflects Imperial local attitudes and political taxonomies, in which any governance apparatus not meeting their definition of a Society of Consent (i.e., which non-consensually subordinates the individual to the group, e.g., by regulating its citizens’ non-externality activities, violating the fundamental rights in accordance with the Fundamental Contract, etc.) is deemed a korasmóníë (“force-state”) and equivalently illegitimate, if not equally obnoxious in their sight, as all other korasmóníë, regardless of their actual internal construction as a democratic, cyberdemocratic, republican, consensus-based anarchy, etc., system.

Outside the Empire, the term coríalqarr (“thought-counting”, used within the Empire to refer only to consensual voting-based decision systems) and its derivatives are more commonly used to refer to democratic systems of governance. It should, however, be noted that within the libertist Empire and to a lesser extent within the Consensual Cultural Region as a whole, this usage is considered at best a euphemism and at worst an apologist’s shibboleth. The wise speaker should endeavor to be aware of local political attitudes before selecting terminology for effect.

– Dictionary of Trade Eldraeic, min Sarthall, League Press