A great many institutions would benefit enormously from every citizen having a range of transparent social scores available to anyone who asked. Prospective employers could be more certain about applicants, police could pursue suspects more easily, and even people going on dates could be more confident about the person who showed up.
However, these benefits may be achieved at considerable cost to individuals. People who make one mistake may find themselves unemployable or unmarriageable. Entirely legal and morally permissible activities today could be recorded in social scores, and then retrospectively, be deemed socially or legally unacceptable tomorrow.
Ultimately each society will have different views on the trade- off between individual privacy and the rights of institutions and individuals to know about a person’s history. Decision makers and civil society leaders should plan now with the expectation that social scoring systems will arrive soon, and their arrival will present a significant policy dilemma with high levels of public salience.
To prevent profoundly ethical decisions being made in undue haste, or in a state of crisis, decision makers should initiate conversations now, in the calm before the storm. Discussions about boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable uses of social scoring can be debated in calmer, more extended conversation when there is no immediate crisis to tackle. Governments can use participative methods like citizen assemblies to ensure that conclusions reaching are considered, legitimate, and ready to be translated into regulation when the time is appropriate.