Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The UK Identity Chernobyl and the information half life

Kim Cameron likes the idea of an information half life that flows naturally from his coining of the term identity Chernobyl to describe the HMRC 25 million data loss.

The notion of information half-life is a great one. Let’s adopt it.

The tendency for “information to merge” is one of the defining transformations of our time. When it comes to understanding what this means, few think forward, or even realize that there “is a forward”.

The “contextual separation” in our lives has been central to our personalities and social structures for many centuries.

Call me conservative, but we need to retain this separation.

The mobility and clonability of digital information, in combination with commercial interest and naivite, lead us toward a vast sea of personal information intermixed with our most intimate and tentative thoughts.

The essence of free-thinking is to be able to think things you don’t believe as part of the process of grasping the truth. If the mind melts into the computer, and the computer melts into a rigid warehouse of indelible data, how easy is it for us to change, and what is left of the mind that is “transcendental” (or even just unfettered…)?

The ramifications of this boggle the mind. The alienation it would cause, and the undermining of institutions it would bring about, concern me as much as any other threat to our civilization.

Well said.

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