This blog will mostly be about writing a book on the interactions of modern technology with personal identity. My career in science and technology has been eclectic. I wondered what, if anything, might be a common theme. I came to realize that our personal identities were being affected in many and varied ways by current conditions: with perhaps two broad currents in the stream of events.
One of these I’ll call Diffusion of identity. It includes the steady leakage of identifying information to the outside world, the meaning of privacy, the exploitation by business and criminals, the rise of surveillance, the problematic nature of security technology, and the erosion of authentic identity and communications (trolling, fake news and much else) in private interactions and public conversation.
The second major current I’ll call Decoherence of identity. It involves discussions of: what creates and holds a personality together, how society and the self interact, what conditions may fragment personalities, how far current conditions might stretch that, and how even more advanced technologies might totally transform identity and our fundamental being.
The two currents cross in various ways, although Diffusion seems to be more “about technology” and Decoherence seems to be more about social science, philosophy, and culture. This is a lot to cover, so I invite you to join me in figuring out what will actually fit into a compelling book-length narrative.
I have learned in researching that virtually every fact and concept involved is known in great depth, by some set of experts. Well-informed people will also have heard of much of the material. So my contribution has to be in putting it all together, hopefully so the whole will be greater than the parts, without drowning anyone in detail. And I must do this while not giving offense to the facts or to the experts, whose concepts and theories may generally agree, but might do so while emphatically not agreeing.
To get basic info about this blog, see this first post. There is a page with a table of contents for this imaginary book. The posts about personal identity are based on numerous references. Those are not listed here. Ask if you want a citation for something I have said.
— Ted D. Wade
Now: Writing about technology interactions with personal identity.
Before: PhD in Psychobiology. Worked in: medical informatics/ search engines/ temporal reasoning/ AI knowledge induction/ fitness and sleep monitoring/ primate sociobiology/ teaching psychology.