01 Feb I participated in a Social Credit System experiment: My Year in the Simulation Part 4
A company called SenseTime has recently raised $600 million in fundraising. The reason being that this company fabricates a very particular tool that is increasingly becoming important in our societies: facial recognition software. This company already has ties to larger corporations where this software can be easily used to monitor customers. More importantly, if you’ve been to China in recent time, and you’ve been photographed using a phone, you’re most likely already imbedded into SenseTime’s library of faces.
Of course, the biggest fuel to an AI of this magnitude is what is to come next… a Social Credit System.
Privacy is a thing of the past. Surveillance is now the present. Despotism is the future.
Welcome back to Osiris…
The day after she killed herself I decided it was time for me to finally eject myself from the simulation.
Woke up late: -10 Visibly upset/angry: -7 Ate a cupcake for breakfast: -17 Ate four more cupcakes: -68 Skipped my shower: -13 Skipped work: -100 Let the rage flow out from me, screaming at the top of my lungs: -250 Calmed down, sat down and wrote out a letter on my laptop which I posted on the Osiris social media network detailing all of the terrifying things that I have witnessed inside the simulation: ̼͡-̼͇̜1͏͍͈̫0,͚̞0̪̩͎͔͚0̝̤̠̗͉͔̟0̯̕
Within less than a minute, there was a knock at my door. I didn’t get up to open it so they burst through it instead.
“What took you fuckers so long?”
I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the news recently. I normally try to stay away, but I saw it in a lifestyle magazine at my local coffee shop some weeks ago. The terror got to me. I stood up trembling, spilling my coffee all over the table, barely able to control my own bowel movements. The title of the article was:
China has started ranking citizens with a creepy social credit system- here’s what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you.
I know about the punishments. I know about the shunning and shaming of citizens. I know about all of this, but most importantly, I know that during my time inside the simulation of the social credit system, there were eight countries sponsoring the experiment. I can confirm to you that China was one of them. And I know that there are seven others.
Four of OSG members stood in formation in my living room.
“Participant 777! You are being charged with dissidence, which is part 10.8 in the legal contract you signed. This results in complete ejection without pay. You need to come with us!”
They took me to a laboratory. There, they sat me down and showed me a strange, futuristic looking outfit. The outfit had all sorts of wires on it that were supposed to attach to my skin.
“You ever read Harry Potter?” One of the employees in a white coat asked me.
“So I guess you’ve never heard of the invisibility cloak?”
“Well, think of it this way… since you refuse to actively and positively participate in the simulation and since you seem to absolutely love to spread negativity, you are being ejected. Instead, you can now spread your negativity in another way,” he smiled.
“H-How?” I asked, trembling under my clothes.
“Well, listen, I detect some worry in your facial expressions, but don’t. Don’t worry. Now that you’ve been ejected, you can talk about anything you want. You can scream all you want about the system. You can chase people around, telling them about how horrible the system is. All you have to do is to wear this outfit here,” he smiled, pointing at the strange suit, “Most of them won’t be able to see you. But some of them will. And you will know immediately if they can see you… and the best part? Not only can you spread all the negativity you want, but you will inadvertedly help to bring them back to a higher score and to be a better member of society. It’s truly a win-win situation we’ve concocted here.”
“I-I don’t understand,” I mumbled.
“Well, let’s see here,” he looked through his notes, “it says here that you’ve seen them before.”
“The Blazefigures,” he grinned, “You are now part of the system.”
It ended. It all ended and I still don’t know how. I only remember slowly and reluctantly getting into the suit with all the wires and then everything went dark. Even today, I still don’t know if I did participate as a Blazefigure inside the simulation or not. I have no recollection of it, but perhaps that was the point.
When I woke up again, I had been handcuffed to the arm of a seat. Looking around me, I came to realize that I was on an airplane in the air. There was no one around me. I was alone.
“Hello?” I asked out loud, to see if anyone would come out from somewhere. But I was completely alone.
I panicked the whole time we were flying as I had no idea where the plane was headed nor who was flying it. When the airplane finally landed, only one pilot came out.
“From everyone at Osiris, I thank you for your service. May you have a eventful life. Be good, be kind, and all will be aligned,” she said, as she motioned for me to exit through the door. As I walked into the airport, dazed and confused, I learned that I was at LAX. I felt something in my pocket and reached down to see what was tucked inside of it. Inside I found a brand new wallet with some cash, my ID, a bank card and an envelope with “Participant 777” typed on it. I immediately opened the envelope and found a typewritten letter with an Osiris logo at the top. It read:
We would like to take the time to thank you for your time within the Osiris simulation. We understand that your stay with us was not the easiest, however, you must rest assured that your participation helped out the simulation in a grandiose way. Understandably, you must be quite confused about certain things that transpired during your stay on the island. We would like to take the time to shed some light on those events for you.
It has always been our ultimate goal to have 100% participation from everyone inside the simulation. However, we knew going in that this would never happen due to natural human behavior. We figured that in the real world, the same would be true. Thus, we decided to introduce chaos into the social credit system to simulate dissidence so that we could better understand how to tackle it once it presents itself in the real-world version. It was of the utmost importance for us to test out all the possible outcomes from our social credit system algorithm.
With all this being said, we would like you to know that you were chosen to participate inside the simulation as a point of chaos. We wanted to know how a person with success inside a social credit system would react when the success began to break apart. The success was broken apart by introducing a major life event occurred followed by mental perturbation which could lead to a mental illness. In your case, the note you received from “Participant 562” at the beginning of the simulation was planted by us. In fact, many of the things you lived were meant to be there, to test the algorithm and to test human response to it.
Perhaps it will help in knowing that you were not the only point of chaos, there were others as well. Overall, we learned more from our “Chaos Participants,” as we like to call them, than from our regular participants. Perfect things just stay perfect and never seem to change. Those are not helpful in growth and understanding. We needed to know real-life reactions to our Social Credit System algorithm. By contrast, you were a very constructive piece of the puzzle.
Another point we would like to clarify is the concept of time. Time within the simulation was always the same. However, for you, it might have seemed slightly different. But this was all an illusion. A successful one. This is because we kept you safely medicated using a drug that changed your biological clock, among other things. Rest assured that this medication is 100% safe and it has no side effects after you discontinue its usage. And most importantly, please rest assured that the duration of your stay never exceeded the 12 months you had initially agreed to.
At this point, you might be confused. You might be wondering why all of this has happened to you. However, it is my job to remind you that you did sign a contract with us where we explain all the possibilities of what the simulation could result in. Please understand that we stand by our contract and that, if you read it over carefully, you will agree that no rules were ever broken.
With all of this said and explained, we would like to congratulate you on reaching the finish line. You’ve done a fantastic job in helping out our experiment as well as the future societies where the real-world social credit systems will provide a Utopia like you’ve never seen before.
Inside your wallet, you will find a bank debit card with the promised $250,000 plus $1000 in cash. The pin code for the debit card is your participant number.
We wish you the absolute best in the years that remain to be lived by you. We hope that, in spite of your hurdles, you were able to enjoy your stay in our tropical island and in our simulation. But most importantly, we hope to see you soon in one of our future, state of the art, real-world social credit rating systems.
Until then, be good, be kind… and all will be aligned.
Regards, The Osiris Team
I walked out of the airport and never looked back. It has now been nearly four years since I exited LAX. In the years since all of this occurred, I used the money to leave the United States and begin a new life in a small town in the land down under. And while I would prefer to keep my current location private, I do want to share a detail about my choice of town.
While inside the simulation, I heard many different accents and never made any connections. But, since leaving, it occurred to me that they were always the same eight accents. This number coincides with the number that we were given as the amount of countries sponsoring the social credit system simulation.
One of the accents was Asian. I know now that it must have been a Mandarin accent or perhaps Cantonese. Among all the accents I heard, I never heard an Australian accent, which is why I chose to move down here; to stay safely away from any nation that might be thinking of introducing a similar system in the imminent future.
The other accents that I believe I heard at Osiris are the following:
British accent South African accent French accent Latin-American accent (I’m sorry that I cannot be more certain of which Latin-American country it might have come from) Russian accent (although there is a slight chance it might be from other neighboring countries as well) Arabic accent (once again, I’m sorry for my incertitude of the country of origin) American accent
That is all of the information I currently have. I have tried to find out more about Osiris but nothing seems to ever come up anywhere. I even hired a private investigator at one point. I tried to find the source of the money in my bank account. I tried to find the location of the tropical island. I tried to find anyone who might have participated without drawing too much attention to myself, but everything I tried was met with failure. I even searched for my friend, Participant 999. My only hope is that she was also part of the “planted chaos” and that she is alive and well somewhere safe. I hate to think anything otherwise.
There was no proof that any of this happened to me. It really got to me that as much as I searched, I couldn’t find anything on it. I was even starting to believe at one point that maybe this was still all part of the simulation; that I was till there and this was all an illusion of some sort. It wasn’t until I saw the article in the magazine that I snapped back to reality.
I know that the simulation was real. I can still feel the warmth of the island on my skin. I can see the faint wrinkles on my laugh line from all the smiling. I still have some of the money left over in a savings account. But my biggest proof?
You know how people always ask, where do you see yourself in ten years? How about in twenty? How about when you’re old, sitting on a rocking chair, reminiscing about the good old days?
I have all the answers for you.
Life will not be good. As you finish my tale of horror, and place your electronic device down, I suggest that you take some time to ponder and meditate about your life and the things that you cherish the most in it. Perhaps it’s your family, perhaps it’s love, perhaps it’s your health… but also think about the things you take for granted: your level of freedom; your ability to think without being read by anyone; the fact that your thoughts are obscured and not judged; the power of feeling an emotion and expressing it; the fact that whatever privacy you have left, it is still yours to own. Think about those truths. And think about how much we take them for granted even if they are limited for some of us.
And now, once again, as you put your device down, imagine a world where you are older. A world that has changed. In this world, everything you do and everything say and everything you think is monitored and eventually, rated. You will become a number. Will you feel safe loving the things that you love today? Will you feel like yourself if your tastes must change to meet the expectations of a point system? Will you feel real? Will you even be real?
And now, the question begs… why are there no riots? Why are there no protests? Are we really not seeing the height of the precipice from which humanity is about to take a leap from?
In the face of evil, in the face of an authoritarian evil, there is no individuality. There are no good guys. I implore you to find an escape to save humanity, but also to save yourself from becoming something you can never take back.