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Archive for February, 2019

delicacies

 

Edition-137 of Delicacies. As usual, max 5 articles that I found interesting and worth re-reading. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more than 5 articles, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

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I have been thinking about “digital” (identity) for a while. Way back in 2003, I got infected by the digital identity virus at Microsoft in a research project related to the launch of the Belgian Electronic Identity (eID) card, a project that led to executive sponsorship of Mr. Bill Gates himself and meeting forward thinkers like Kim Cameron and many others smart people at Microsoft Research.

bill gates eID card

Later, as the project leader of the Digital Asset Grid (a prototype research project at my previous employer SWIFT/Innotribe), we were investigating distributed sharing of data by independent trusted nodes (one would call that blockchain these days).

Future Scenario from the Digital Asset Grid
Filmed & Produced by Heather Vescent

The project never survived the prototype stage, and although the project was really about sharing any kind of data (and not only personal data), it gave me a seat at the WEF Personal Data experts group. I stayed in touch with many of them and tried to follow the space.

cambrian_fig_1_1_large

Then in 2012, I wrote a blog post titled The Cambrian Explosion of Everything, still one of my most read and commented posts since the start of this blog.

I kept being fascinated by the subject and developed a metaphor where the user would own their data, as if the user would be encapsulated in a Buckminster Fuller sort of sphere, and would be able to share different facets of their outer sphere (their data) and be in control of who they share it with and in what particular transaction context.

BuckminsterFuller

That is, in essence, the VRM concept (Vendor Relationship Management), a set of tools that would give users the tools to manage their vendor relationships, just like vendor manage their customers with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools.

My thoughts have definitely evolved since then, especially because I always felt there was a mismatch in trying to mimic 2D identity concepts of the off-line world into the more complex 3D online world. The only thing people were trying to do was to create a digital equivalent of a physical real-world identity card, basically only a representation of an account number, or a social security number, or a government-issued ID.

Identity reduced to a number sitting on a chip of a smart card. It always felt so limiting, and with hindsight plain wrong.

I recently bumped into a presentation by David Birch of Consult Hyperion, and I was fascinated by this slide:

Dave Birch on Identity

The eID card was and still is nothing more than a “digitized” identity. The Belgian government recently decided to add a digital fingerprint to the card. Besides a privacy nightmare, this move won’t help: the card will remain static, dumb, stand-alone, etc and a misnomer in a multidimensional on-line world.

What if we pushed our thinking about true digital identity? What metaphors would help us understand what is needed? What is the new and future context for this?

Zuckerberg in prison on cropped window with white borders V3 with red effect cropped

Petervan Artwork © 2018 - Zuckerberg Prison Cell - Digital Mix

Some of my new metaphors are inspired by my recent artwork on prison cells and labyrinths. I am thinking about identity and data sharing in terms of “signatures”, “maps”, and “labyrinths”.

Labyrinth with two red lines - final

Petervan Artwork © 2018 - Labyrinth - Acryl on Canvas - 100x120cm

In essence, I believe we have to expand all dimensions of entities, data, and transaction context. In addition, we need to become more aware of a different type of scale. We have to start thinking about trillions of entities, sharing all types of data in real-time transaction contexts.

I believe that somewhere in 2012-2013 we lost the time window for VRM in its implementation as personal data stores in the cloud. There is so much data out there now (at FB, Google, your bank, your retailer, your hospital, etc.) that it is an illusion we will ever get back control over it. And even if we would be able to do that, the idea of a user taking the pain to pull the levers of control of their personal data locker is just ridiculous.

Open Banking and PSD2 may give us a hunch: what sort of new services would be possible to develop if banks (and by extension retailers, FB, etc) were forced by regulation to open and share their data. Not new services like a personal data store (PSD), but something more integrated with the daily experience.

For example, I don’t use my credit card to make payments, I use it to buy stuff. The credit card just works under the hood to give me a convenient buying experience. What would be the equivalent services enabling an experience like “I just buy stuff” when Open Banking and PSD2 live up to their promises?

We have to expand our dimensions

Many are confused by the privacy focus on personal data sharing. By now, I tend to agree that privacy does not exist online. I think privacy only exists in the off-line world and in the unspoken word/thought, not in what is being shared (intentionally or non-intentionally)

Privacy only exists Off-line

Privacy has to do with The Unspoken Data. In The Crisis of Intimacy in the Age of Digital Connectivity, Stephen Marche says:

“In an all-sharing world, what we don’t share will define us. The secret will be irrelevant because it is not on the network. It will be the part of us that matters.”

The DAG/Holochain/Solid/etc projects of this world won’t solve this. I don’t know what would solve it. I don’t know whether there is a problem to be solved.

“It can not work because we can’t own information”, says also David Brin.

The more critical question is “What kind of world do we want to live in?”, as in Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s speech to the EU in Nov 2018.

He talks about “Human-centered technology” in the era of surveillance and misinformation. It is a call for regulation of the platforms and their relation with (mainly) personal entities. I believe we have to expand this.

The Cambrian Explosion of Identity has ramifications beyond platform-human relationships.

In an upcoming series of blog posts, I will expand the following dimensions:

  • Identity
  • Entities
  • Relationships
  • Transactions
  • Type of data
  • Context
  • Motivations
  • Governance
  • Entropy of information

Hope you’ll stay on board for the series.

petervan-signature

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delicacies

 

Edition-136 of Delicacies. As usual, max 5 articles that I found interesting and worth re-reading. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more than 5 articles, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

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Artist Mario Klingemann’s groundbreaking piece of Artificial Intelligence (AI) generates a never-ending real-time stream of original art.

I found this mesmerizing video, where the artist explains how it works:

 

“If you hear somebody play the piano, would you ever say “the piano is the artist”? No. Same thing here: just because it is a complicated mechanism, it does not change the roles.”

The neural network is the brushes that I use, but in the end, it is always the feedback between me the artist and the medium and the material.

“It’s like a child that I can say “ok, now you go out in the world alone, and I can trust that you will keep on doing what I hope you would do, even if I am not sitting next to and still able to change something.”

That’s a hard moment for me when I can say “Ok, now I take my hands off the keyboard, and let it out in the world.

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delicacies

 

Edition-135 of Delicacies. As usual, max 5 articles that I found interesting and worth re-reading. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more than 5 articles, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

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being-observed-surveillance-02_Gerd_illustrations_13_01_16_v1-06_YellowSidewalk Labs is Google’s / Alphabet Inc.’s urban innovation organisation. Its goal is to improve urban infrastructure through technological solutions, and tackle issues such as cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage (Wikipedia). Looking at their website, it’s full of ambitious goals: reimagining cities to improve quality of life, people-centered design, street safety, affordable housing, sustainability, people first, etc. In other words: do the right thing.

The Intercept takes a deeper look and presents a more skeptical perspective: instead of the usual statistical data, the project uses real-time location data, but it’s unclear where does data come from. The Intercept is also raising questions about how Sidewalk Labs sets limits in regards to the type and quality of consent; and – more worrying – its potential for corporate and government surveillance.

“If Sidewalk Labs has access to people’s unique paths of movement prior to making its synthetic models, wouldn’t it be possible to figure out who they are, based on where they go to sleep or work?”

“Replica is a perfect example of surveillance capitalism, profiting from information collected from and about us as we use the products that have become a part of our lives. We need to start asking, as a society, if we are going to continue to allow business models that are built around exploiting our information without meaningful consent

Initially posted at Futurist Gerd

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delicacies

Edition-134 of Delicacies. As usual, max 5 articles that I found interesting and worth re-reading. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more than 5 articles, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

Read Full Post »

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