Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Sustainable Transportation and Social Credit Scores

While I missed it when it was announced, an announcement by Sunderland City Council back in mid-2022 clearly provides us with a sense that we are headed toward a social credit score which will be, in part, defined by our personal carbon footprint.


Here is the announcement from Sunderland's city council which is located in northeast England along the coast of the North Sea:

Here is a screen capture showing the webpage for the BetterPoints Sunderland website referred to in the announcement:


All that participants had to do is download the free BetterPoints app from either the Apple App Store on Google Play and register to be automatically added to the BetterPoints Sunderland challenge.  Participants were required to ensure that automatic tracking was turned on on their smart device so that the app could track their trips.  This would allow the app to credit their account with BetterPoints to either spend or donate to charity when they used "sustainable" methods of transportation including walking, cycling, running, using an e-bike and/or using public transportation.  


BetterPoints was founded in 2010 and claims that they can "make green and healthy behaviour irresistible".  The company combines technology and data to "motivate and measure behaviour change for health and wellbeing, transport and mobility and climate change".  The company claims the following achievements:


The company's mobile apps work as follows:


1.) the app combines tracking, motion sensing and user interaction with sophisticated server-side algorithms that verify activities and characteristics.


2.) this information is linked to different types and levels of incentives that are awarded to participants when they meet certain behavioural goals including exercising, completing an activity or trying something new.  


Well that isn't a breach of privacy in any way, is it? 


BetterPoints goals and rewards can be tailored to meet the needs and objectives of its clients.


I found this graphic on their website particularly interesting:


Basically, BetterPoints is behavioural modification with a "smile on its face". 


In the case of the Sunderland trial, BetterPoints rewards could be used at the following retailers:


...or donated to the following charities just to make you feel even better about yourself:


Sunderland is certainly not the first city to use this type of reward system for behavioural modification.  Here is an article about the Italian city of Bologna which appeared on the World Economic Forum website (not surprisingly) back in October 2018:


So, ride your bike (a healthy choice) and have a free beer or ice cream (a somewhat less than healthy choice).   Interesting concept, isn't it?


Here's a quote from the article by Johnny Wood (a great porn name if I ever heard one) with my bolds:


"In the Italian city of Bologna, people are rewarded for cycling, walking and taking public transport. 


Bella Mossa (Italian for “good job”) is the brainchild of urban planner Marco Amadori. The anti-pollution scheme aims to reduce car journeys and boost “green” travel with incentives like beer, ice cream or cinema tickets for participants who complete eco-friendly walks and rides.


Inhabitants of Bologna can download an app which uses GPS tracking to record their journeys. Each walk or trip by bike or bus earns points, which can be built up and exchanged for goods and services at local businesses that have signed up to the scheme. 


“The system of point collection is based not on the distance you travel but on a single trip, because it’s important that even for short trips of 1km you do it in a sustainable way,” Marco Amadori told the BBC. 


Bella Mossa has proved popular and there is talk of extending the initiative’s four-month operating period. The app allows a maximum of four trips to be logged each day, to encourage people to use the scheme over time and help make travelling around the city more sustainable."


What a perfect way to monitor every move of your citizens!

All of this makes me wonder how long it will be before these programs are mandatory and that every trip that we take is monitored and recorded and that those who are found wanting will find that rather than a beer or a retail prize at the end of the rainbow, will find some sort of punishment for breaching their obligation to Mother Earth, obligations that have been determined by the global aristocracy that reserves the right for itself to travel as it wishes, when it wishes and how it wishes.


Mandatory social credit scores here we come.  Can we say "boiling pot" and "frog"?

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