Do you value your privacy? Do you want to be known? What would you trade in order to flourish?
Who Are You Online?
I recently found out about Bitrated which is a pretty cool concept for determining trust and facilitating trades. You can find me there at https://www.bitrated.com/lukestokes.
I'm a fan of systems like this because I think there is great value in having a strong online identity which you control.
You can also find me on Keybase and Onename as lukestokes:
Trust is so important. We are a relational species and so much of our existence revolves around the relationships we build and the trust those relationships contain. Most jobs, marriages, and major life decisions are influenced most by those we trust. I believe our desire to be known is critical to our wellbeing.
Some may argue your online and offline identities should be separate. I'm of the opposite opinion. I think the future will merge technology so seamlessly into the human experience that a distinction will seem primitive. I do my best to maintain integrity, not just honesty and moral uprightness, but also wholeness. I try to be the same person online and in person. Tools like Bitrated, along with my various social media profiles, are my digital identity. They not only provide me with great joy, education, and entertainment, but also with meaningful relationships and the sharing of ideas which shape who I am.
But What About Privacy?
Privacy is an incredibly important topic, but I wonder if we are thinking about it with the proper perspective. I recently read a great post which got me thinking about this even more: The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images.
Privacy is a relatively new thing. I also think it's a good thing, but it's not essential for our survival, as demonstrated by the many thousands of years we didn't have it. I value privacy on specific things which keep me, my family, and myself in the past (i.e. my property) safe. That includes passwords, encryption keys, safe combinations, and physical keys. Without this protection, my property could be controlled by others or used to manipulate me.
When our private lives can be used against us, we lose autonomy and control of our own outcome. At the same time, I also think a person of complete integrity has very few weaknesses to exploit. If my public and private actions are consistent, then there are no surprises which could be used against me to discredit me, shame me, or somehow control me. I recognize myself to be in a privileged position as I have no employer to answer to since I run my own company. That said, I also think many would enjoy living this way but instead have to hide parts of who they really are out of fear.
What if we could live without fear?
What Does Flourishing Look Like?
What would it be like to walk down the street and see signs over peoples' faces (kind of like Daniel Suarez's Freedom (TM))?
One might read:
Sociopath: Not to be trusted.
Another might say:
Moralist: Trusted with a strong reputation score.
How would that impact our daily lives, our businesses, and the relationships we build? Some might think of Blank Mirror's Nosedive episode where most actions are fake and revolve around building reputation scores.
But I don't think it will be like that because we, as a species, strive for authenticity. Even children can tell when someone isn't being genuine. If all interactions with others, even strangers, could be based on proven, demonstrated trust, what might that do for our wellbeing? If someone needed a loan or even a handout, and they were trustworthy to use it for good to better themselves and the world around them, many would be glad to give. What if many bad actors could simply be ignored?
Am I too much of an idealist?
What are your thoughts on privacy, online identities, and how it all relates to human flourishing?
Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, voluntaryist, and blockchain enthusiast. He wants to help create a world we all want to live in.