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lecture: Social cooling

How the reputation economy is turning us into conformists

Socialcooling com

What does it mean to be free in a world where surveillance is the dominant business model? Databrokers turn our data into thousands of reputation scores, which are increasingly impacting our chances to get a job, a loan, insurance or even a date. As awareness of this grows we see a growing culture of self-censorship and risk-aversion. In the long term these chilling effects could seriously 'cool down' society.

What does it mean to be free in a world where surveillance is the dominant business model? More and more people are starting to realize that databrokers (a 200 billion dollar industry) are turning our data-trail into thousands of scores.

This ‘digital reputation’ is starting to strongly effect our lives, influencing our chances to get a job, a cheap loan or even a nice date. As awareness spreads people are changing their behavior; studies show an increase in self-censorship and a growing culture of risk-aversion. For example, we see students not partying as hard. We see people not clicking on links because they think “someone” might record that visit, and it could ‘look bad’. We see doctors hesitating to operate on difficult diseases because a death will affect their score. In 2020 all Chinese citizens will receive a ‘social credit score’ that basically reflects how well behaved they are.

As oil lead to Global Warming, data leads to Social Cooling. Comparing these two problems is not just intended as a warning. It offers hope, a blueprint for how to deal with this issue, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human in our data-driven world.


Day: 2017-08-05
Start time: 18:30
Duration: 01:00
Room: No



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