I have always been intrigued by identity. Physical-world-Identity or Digital-Identity. But “digital” is an outdated adjective, used my pre-millennial friend to make the distinction with the world as they used to know it.
Today, it is ONE environment, blurring the contours of who-I-am as a human being in flesh and blood and with my own mind, thoughts, and consciousness. Both my body and my mind are getting increasingly augmented and complemented by tools, by ecology of machines, networks, and algorithms. That ecology of an emergent self-correcting organism was labeled as “The Technium” by mastermind Kevin Kelly.
We probably have to invent a new word for this “one environment of me”: maybe the word “Dysical” – as a contraction of Digital and Physical – could do the job? But it is more than one word we need. We need a new language, a new vocabulary, a new grammar; new ways to create the sentences and the narrative that can capture this new form of being. And when we have developed basic literacy in this new language, perfect it like art, like literature, like poetry, for deep and rich self-expressions of the “Dysical-me”.
That rich self-expression will needed a new data order, caused by ubiquitous connectivity and an increasingly pervasive computing environment, and generating two massive transformations: the enablement of peer-to-peer relations, and the explosion of data: big data, small data, augmented data, fast data, real-time data, etc.
I believe it is time to start reflecting on a P2P “Data-Economy”. Thanks to the ubiquitous connectivity, nodes in a grid can now interact and share with each other without central body or governance. The emergence of the Bitcoin currency is a typical example how new and probably more robust and resilient currency exchanges are possible without central banks, central governance.
My “Dysical-Self” is also getting more and more defined by my context and reputation in this new P2P data-economy. My identity not any longer simply equals my identity number or my digital certificate or passport. My identity is deeply correlated with my relationships with other people and other nodes in the grid. Trust suddenly gets defined at the level of the relationship, not at the level of identity.
That sort of trust will also be very much related to our reputation. Whether that reputation is as self experienced with our human antennas, deducted by algorithms (Klout, Peerindex, Kred,…) or Socially Vouched (LinkedIn, Connect.me,…)
It will require some form of Cloud Operating System, where our mobile device becomes the remote control of our personal and interoperable Data Clouds.
But one could go on step further, where we think beyond the device. Dhani Sutandto , Senior Digital Art Director and the creator of the Oyster Card Ring recently indeed quoted in PSFK Magazine:
“There will be mobile devices but they will be something that you would wear discreetly, without making you look out of place. Instead of constantly looking down at a screen, people will wear something discreetly. Your interaction with technology won’t be gone, but it will be seamlessly integrated and we will therefore look up and interact in a human way with one another.”
Indeed, when trillions of devices are inter-connected, we need to think beyond the context of the “device”. Device is no longer the context. We – the “Data-objects” – are the context, are the interface:
“We are the data”
And we – the data – will need a common interface to deal with our Dysical Identity, to deal with Access, Trust and Grid-Literacy.