Our digital identity crisis never ceases to astound me.
Remember that old cartoon with the caption: “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog”?
Nowadays just substitute: “On the Internet, no one knows you’re human”.
We are constantly mistaken for robots, for machines.
Or rather, we are presumed machine until proven human.
It seems everytime we click these days, we have to squint our eyes to decipher alphanumeric characters often too cryptic even for human retinae.
Please confirm your password: you must include at least one number, one non-alphanumeric character, one capital letter, one ancient greek alphabet, and one ounce of memory loss… where will it end? Good thing my password is the same for everything:
2 ∞ & →
Episode 2 of our Digital Dyspeptic podcast is now out! Sticking to our alliterations, the topic we’ve chosen for this podcast is “digital darlings” (love and relationships in the digital age).
(You can also access it directly here).
Last year, I was invited to speak at a conference at Universite Laval in Quebec City on technology and philosophy. The exact title of the conference was “Between Wisdom and Ignorance: The impact of new technologies on our understanding of what it is to be human“. I think the title works much better in French: “Entre la conscience et l’inconscience: l’impact des nouvelles technologies sur le sens de l’humain”.
As I am just trying to finish up my article on this, I have been thinking about the reference I made at the time to a “house of mirrors” when talking about digital identity – you know the kind they have at carnival and fairs. On the internet, people offer up multiple identities (either consciously or accidentally) – some are partial reflections, some illusions, some complete inversions… Navigating our own digital identity and those of others is a bit like walking through a house of mirrors. It’s entertaining… but there is something disturbing in it. As we write and re-write ourselves into existence online, our identities are perpetually adrift: mirrored and reflected, distorted and fragmented…