So, I had to visit the customer care of Robi today and after successfully delivering the service, the attendant asked me to rate her service via the tab placed on the desk. Unsuspectingly I pressed '10' (Extremely Helpful) since she quickly resolved the problem. An attendant on the nearby desk expressly asked the customer to rate him 10, although I don't think the customer was fully satisfied.
It was a very uneventful everyday life thing no doubt, but it made me realize how terrifyingly fast Black Mirror is turning into a reality. What if I acted like a douche and rated her less than she deserved? What if the customer who wasn't satisfied with the service gave a 10 out of generosity or because he was too nice? And the attendants are desperate to get a 10 since it's imperative for them to get higher ratings to have a good standing; just like it mattered in 'Nosedive', the first episode of third season of Black Mirror to have a higher rating to have a good social standing.
We already are biased by the current rating systems all over the world. People check IMDb, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes ratings before watching movies, check Yelp, Google, Facebook ratings before visiting a business, check Foodbank reviews before an eat out. Such ratings can make your business reach the apex or hit rock bottom. The higher rating you have, the more these online services (Google, Facebook, Yelp etc) show your business to more people. Companies know this and many services go great lengths to increase their ratings, including pay-offs for fake reviews. If you are not updated with the flow and in your ignorance defy the necessity of online presence or take steps for your bad rating, success in this fast world isn't for you!
Maybe, yes, this is good for the people to be able to rate businesses, to have their voice whether they get a good or bad service. But what if it comes down to people? We can get a pretty good idea what people can do when they're given a chance to express their opinion, just by looking at the comment section of Youtube! Even the most peaceful videos get hundreds of dislikes and foul comments. What if these anonymous people get a chance to define your social standing? What if it comes down to a time when people will be compelled to share that cat picture with 'friends' instead of the success he achieved recently? Because lets face it, cat photos will always get more likes! What if your one bad decision can bring your rating down to a number that's unacceptable by the people and they rate you even less?
I love technology and how it's helping ease our life. But at the same time I dread the horrors that it can bring. Black Mirror has been one of my most favorite series since the day I first watched it. It depicts the life that we might have to live once technology is not in our hands anymore to control. Do watch the series if you're concerned. I'll rate it a 5/5!
An undergrad student from Bangladesh, currently doing my BSc on Electrical and Electronics Engineering to pursue my dream of making the world a better place with the help of technology.