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What Is Social Cooling?

Updated on September 13, 2017
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Charmaine loves to create and explore the role of intuition in her life and in her freelance works of poetry and writing.


Algorithms and their Connection to Social Cooling

Algorithms can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Yet, experts worry that it puts too much control in the hands of corporations and governments that then perpetuates bias, cuts choices, creativity and serendipity and results in unemployment. (Feb 8 2017 Pew Research Centre)

Are you feeling that social media knows too much for a silent organization behind the screens? Are you starting to stop or avoid sites with cookies?

People whose profession it is to collect information about you through the use of algorithms are Databrokers.

Algorithms are a specification of how to solve problems.

Algorithms perform calculations, data processing and reasoning tasks. Data is collected through cookies, smart devices and the likes given on social media sites.

Algorithms perceive and follow patterns about you, or your connections to another person or about you in relation to the society you inhabit. The people behind the algorithms are called Databrokers.

Databrokers turn your collected data into numerous scores that creates a profile about you. Whether you travel, you are an open person, an empty nester, what your fashion tastes are, whether you are gullible. Anything and everything. This same data is also used to work out where you are a risk to an insurance company, employer and various governmental bodies etc.

Moving from a Monetary Economy to a Reputational Economy

It appears there is a shift from a monetary economy to a reputational economy.

Databrokers are turning information collected by algorithms into reputational scores. These reputation scores are now going to be the means by which you can have the things you desire together with being your source of leverage, that was once your financial/material status.

Your reputational score will either give you opportunities in life or reduce the number of opportunities in your life. What has been realized that this situation is creating a social pressure that controls people behaviours. This resultant action is what is termed as social cooling.


3 Downsides of Living in a Digital Reputation Economy

1. Formation of Conformity within Society

Are you starting to stop and think whether clicking on that link is a good idea or not? As each time, you click on a link, it is logged. You wonder whether this is going add value to your reputational score or whether it will cause a subtraction of points from your reputational score, as someone, somewhere, knows what site you are visiting.

2. Producing a Risk Aversive Culture

People that think outside of the box, advertisers, writers, movie producers and directors are some of the people that may begin to avoid contentious subjects.


In 2015, a survey was performed by Schuessler, of writers around the world. The PEN American Centre found that the freedom of expression was under threat in both democratic and non-democratic countries. This applied to 75% of writers in free countries; 84% in partly free countries; and 80% of writers in countries that weren’t free.

Rating systems can create unwanted incentives and increase pressure to conform a bureaucratic average.

3. Causes an Increase in Social Inflexibility

A reputational economy limits one’s reach and ability. You would think about voicing your upset at an injustice; or, perhaps voicing your upset at a failed relationship with a leading person in an organization or corporation.

China is using this reputational economy and they have assigned a government mandated social credit score. This reputational score will indicate how well they behave in society together with the quality of their social posts. One’s personal reputational score will also be affected by their friends scores.

China is using these reputational scores to determine if you can obtain a visa, whether you can obtain a loan or apply for certain jobs.


Social Cooling is A Powerful, Yet Subtle Form of Control

The reputational score is functioning to control the behaviour of its people. The reputational economy is a subtle yet powerful form of control.

A digital reputation system removes your right to be imperfect-to be human. We are not AI machines.


Last Thoughts…

What now is going to be the definition of what it means to have civil and political liberties?

Lastly, remember, when you are tempted to get influenced by Big Data on a person.

* algorithms are a part of mathematics and computer science, it does not mean algorithms have no bias. People are behind these algorithms. It is people who make decisions about which data to apply together with weighing up the collected data

*in general data is believed to be political, messy, incomplete, at times false and full of complex human meanings

*algorithms designers cannot explain how the self-learning aspects of algorithms make its final decisions.


Trial and error practices, are how humans learn.

People make mistakes.

People come with biases both known and unknown.

Algorithms make mistakes

Algorithms are biased

Algorithms have agendas

Algorithms are not neutral.

Thank you for taking an interest in the content of this article


© 2017 Threekeys


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    • threekeys profile image

      Threekeys 7 weeks ago from Australia

      As you mentioned , money talks. If you are not with that resource your character/reputation is your currency for better or worse. If you are monied, the law and land is yours, so to speak.

      Too few people appear to hve to too much private information of many at their hands. It's very wrong and uneccessary, in my opinion.

      Thankyou Flourish for stopping by to read this article. (smile) All the best to you and your loved ones.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks ago from USA

      Fascinating subject. As a former data person myself I know that data can be presented many ways, depending on one’s purpose. The most frustrating thing a person can do to the data wizards is provide false and wildly inconsistent responses or refuse to answer at all, if you’re that concerned about it. I increasingly believe that the haves and have nots live by different rules, and reputation currency impacts the have nots much more. Donald Trump is an example. He can do and say anything but his money supercedes everything.