Ghost in the Shell, Bladerunner and Total Recall all tell the same story. What happens when your memories are hacked? What happens when an external agency reimagines your identity? Where can you protect your sense of self? Your memories? It is naïve to imagine that other people might steal your identity, if that were the only threat we might at least have a reasonable chance of having our day and say in court. The probability is that it will be machines that will steal your identity in order to pass themselves off as human. Machines will take over the web, as they will operate at a speed and intelligence far beyond that ability of any mere mortal. So the automation of replication is only beginning and soon machines will simply take over the process and start running programs that will very quickly run beyond our control. Blockchain is the only tool available to protect our identities and our personal stories against the information tsunami of identity automation.
Identity and imagination are the twin engines of our creative sense of self; each sustains our uniqueness, our autonomy, our sense of freedom in the world. Identity does not precede imagination, both identity and imagination develop in tandem, one cannot operate without the other. It is not enough to secure the fundamental facts of our existence- date of birth, name, place of birth, mothers name, fathers name, guardians name, siblings and family tree, social security number, bank account, health care files. All those facts mean nothing without the story of your imagination, the imagination that connects your ‘ghost’, your soul to other people. It is this story that every company on the planet is after. And the hunt is only beginning.
The productivity of your imagination is the signature of your identity. It is on the blockchain where the defense of your imaginative sense of self begins. Your ideas, your dreams, your memories can all be hashed and their very uniqueness protected forever. The hash is your own block against the hack.
This move is a critical development at a time when each day brings more reports of the hacking of mountains of identity data. Interesting that it not money that is stolen, but identity; identities that can be sold and resold, and so have a resale value greater than any monetary currency.
In the work of Samuel Beckett, in his Trilogy, Beckett debates the question of the constant erosion and enhancement of identity and how the imagination becomes a vault from which a sense of self is constantly reimagined. The sense of self is never fixed, but rather in a radical project of never ending free play, becomes a device of self-projection onto the world, that needs to be constantly reaffirmed.
However, laying siege to our creative identity is a vast network of the faceless state at federal, state and municipal level, with all government departments laying claim to ownership of your data. As if that were not enough, there are the banks, the insurance companies, your hospital networks, each looking to connect your data to your full emotional life on YouTube, Netflix, Tidal, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google. The social networks codify the digital nuances of your online life. Advertisers are hungry for information on your preferences, they want an insight into that which is most precious of all, the very identity of your imagination.