【媒库文选】网络社会主义值得一试吗?

2018-06-09 12:38   参考消息网  

Is Cyber Socialism Worth a Try?

网络社会主义值得一试吗?

Thomas Malone 托马斯·马隆

(continued) In other words, a cyber-socialist economy would decide how to allocate human labor, food, and other resources in a very different way from the system that prevails in capitalist economies. Instead of mutual agreements between buyers and sellers in a market, decisions about resources would be based on societal norms that are embodied in the way you're rated by other people and in the algorithms for computing reputations. Also, unlike a purely market-based economy, a cyber-socialist economy would explicitly take into account people's needs and abilities, not just what they consume and produce.

Would a system like this take substantial resources to operate? Yes. And would it be subject to many kinds of abuse? Yes. But our current systems also have problems like these, and it's not obvious that the difficulties of a cyber-socialist system would be worse than what we have today. And if it worked well, this kind of economy—in contrast to a capitalist economy—could allocate society's resources in a way that many people would consider fairer. It would also likely reduce the extremes of material wealth between the rich and the poor. So it seems to me worthwhile to think further about how a scenario like this might actually be implemented in a way that could be feasible and desirable.

Intriguingly, China is already experimenting with something it calls a social credit system, which has some of the characteristics of the scenario we've just seen. The Communist Party has said that it wants to roll out a nationwide version of the system by 2020, so this may be a harbinger of much bigger things to come.

For starters, the system keeps track of financial behavior, such as whether people keep up with their insurance premiums, tax payments, and credit card bills. The system is also expected to include information about various kinds of social behavior, such as cheating on subway fares, jaywalking, causing disturbances on airline flights, and violating family-planning limits.

For instance, in China, if your parents are over 60, the law requires you to visit them regularly and ensure that they have enough food; children who fail to fulfill these filial duties might be reported in the system. In the long run, the system may also include data about various kinds of online behavior, such as how many hours you play video games per day, how courteously you interact with other users in online forums, and how reliable the information you post is.

All this data will then be used to compute various“social credit” ratings that will lead to many kinds of benefits and penalties. People with high scores, for instance, may have access to luxury hotels, certain government jobs, favorable loan rates, and “green lanes”that entitle them to receive faster government services or faster security screening at airports. People with low scores might have limited access to good jobs, favorable mortgage rates, and good schools. They might even be unable to stay in certain desirable hotels or eat in certain restaurants.

The government planning documents for this system say its goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

For the purposes of this discussion, I think the key point is that new information technologies are changing the political calculus of how to organize large groups. Could these new technologies allow, on a vastly larger scale, the kind of decision making based on norms and reputations that was common in ancient hunting-and-gathering communities? Could they, for instance, allow a new form of large-scale cyber-socialism to compete effectively with market-based economies? We don't know for sure, but experiments like China's social credit system will certainly provide fascinating indications about what might be possible.

换句话说,网络社会主义经济分配人力、食物和其他资源的方式与资本主义经济普遍采用的制度截然不同。与市场中买卖双方协商一致不同,有关资源的决定将以社会规范为基础,既体现在其他人对你的评价方式中,也体现在计算信誉的算法中。此外,与纯粹的市场经济不同,网络社会主义经济将明确考虑到人们的需求与能力,而不只是他们消费了什么和生产了什么。

这样一套制度运转起来是否需要大量资源?是。它是否会受到各种各样的滥用?是。但我们的现行制度同样存在诸如此类的问题,谁也看不出网络社会主义制度面临的困难会比现有困难更严峻。而且,如果它运转良好,那么这种经济——与资本主义经济形成对比——分配社会资源的方式在很多人看来会更显公平。它还很可能减轻贫富阶层之间的物质财富悬殊。因此,我认为值得进一步思考如何以可行的、令人期待的方式真正落实这样一套方案。

有趣的是,中国已经在试行它所称的“社会信用体系”,这一体系具有上述方案的某些特征。中国共产党表示,它希望到2020年这一体系在全国范围铺开,因此这可能预示着未来的动作会比现在大得多。

首先,这套体系追踪记录人们的财务行为,如是否按时缴付保险费、税费和信用卡账单。这套体系还有望纳入各种社会行为信息,如逃地铁票、乱穿马路、航班闹事和违反计划生育规定等。

举例来说,在中国,如果你的父母年龄在60岁以上,那么法律要求你定期看望他们,并保证他们不会挨饿;未能尽孝的子女可能会被这套体系记录在案。从长远看,这套体系或许还将纳入各种互联网行为数据,例如你每天玩电子游戏的时长、你在互联网论坛中与其他用户互动时是否礼貌以及你所发布信息的可信度。

接下来,所有这些数据会被用于计算各种“社会信用”评级,而这些评级与多种奖惩挂钩。例如,信用分数高的人或许可以入住豪华酒店、进入某些政府部门工作、享受优惠的贷款利率以及通过“绿色通道”优先获得政府服务或者在机场优先接受安检。分数低的人在找工作、按揭贷款利率、入学等方面可能会受到限制。他们甚至可能无法入住某些优质酒店,也不能在某些餐馆用餐。

中国政府相关规划文件称,这一体系的目标是“让守信者一路畅通、让失信者寸步难行”。

就这一讨论的目的而言,我认为要点在于新的信息技术正在改变人类组织管理大型群体时的政治考量。基于规范和名声的决策方式常见于古代狩猎采集公社,那么这些新技术能否让我们在大得多的规模上采用这种决策方式?例如,新技术能否使一种新型大规模网络社会主义与市场经济展开有力竞争?我们不敢肯定,但中国社会信用体系这样的试验肯定会提供一些关于各种可能性的有趣提示。(下)(卿松竹译自美国领英网5月18日文章,本文为托马斯·马隆所著《超级头脑:人与计算机一同思考的神奇力量》一书书摘)

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