Jesse Schell’s Monstrous Bonus-Point Police State

There’s a video extrapolating current gaming/social marketing trends into the future which is getting a lot coverage.

Watch the video. My reaction after the break.

I don’t want to live in a Police State like that.

Why would anybody?

The sensors can tell I have jaywalked. Ten points deducted. Police are notified and I’m emailed a ticket.

The sensors and their algorithms see what you are buying at the supermarket. Because you’re at risk of obesity and diabetes — based solely on family history and not on your current healthy physique — you’re prevented from purchasing that bar of chocolate you wanted. Ten points deducted and your insurance provider and doctor are notified.

The algorithms can tell you have visited a pr0n site depicting high-risk sexual activity. Your insurance provider is notified, your doctor is notified, you’re put on a Pre-Crime Sexual Offender Watch List by local authorities, and you are banned on several algorithmically-compiled lists kept by agencies and companies dealing with children. If you go to Church, your pastor or priest is also emailed. One hundred points deducted.

The algorithms cannot account for several hours of your time. Because you were reading an unconnected paper book. The algorithms note, however, that during this activity your heart rate was low, thus you were not exercising. Another note is sent to your insurance provider and your doctor. The algorithms at your insurance provider will soon tip you into a higher rate for premiums.

The algorithms believe you have smoked a cigarette, even though all you did was pass by a group of people who were. This tips you into that higher insurance premium list, your doctor is again notified, and two hundred points are deducted.

Do I really have to go on?

If you had a Do-Gooder shadowing you all day, policing your moment-to-moment behavior, wouldn’t you at some point rebel — perhaps violently?

Yet this soft algorithmic Police State is a pleasing thought to Jesse Schell, who imagines life as a Leaderboard and our individual free-will actions as merely fodder for cheap Bonus Points. Because we’re not people. We’re consumer units to be marketed to — constantly.

This is the most monstrous vision of the future I have ever encountered. It is worse than that imagined by Jules Verne in his Paris in the Twentieth Century.

All of you who wish to live like that, please leave this country. We like our liberty here.

“But I do know this stuff is coming. Man, it’s gotta come! What’s gonna stop it?”

I will.

So will all other adults who want to live their own lives, not ones dictated by you, Jesse.

2 responses to “Jesse Schell’s Monstrous Bonus-Point Police State

  1. Great post, and I agree with you, but I’m starting to seriously worry that resistance will be much harder than I thought it would be when I was reading similar dystopian fiction when I was younger.

    I recently read “Feed” by M.T. Anderson and found it profoundly disturbing for exactly this reason. Perhaps also because I’m older and such a future seems much closer than it did even a decade ago.

    My biggest fear is that at best it will be too prejudicial for the majority to opt-out of the system.

  2. People tend to forget the future is what we *make* it.