Do We Own Ourselves?

As David Bollier’s Viral Spiral book indicates the Internet is leading towards a continuous transformation of society, through an interplay of government, business, and now – quite powerfully – the individuals which make up this society.

First, government and industry were instrumental in creating the Internet (Arpanet, World Wide Web, etc.), with educational institutions playing a major role. Then the individual was able to add texture by adding their voices through blogs, Facebook, twitter, etc.

The question now is whether the individual is beginning to lose their identity, as commercial and other interests, begin to repurpose identity itself. A new promotion for a CBS serial, Person of Interest (beginning this evening) is one example. On Broadway, a screen is capturing people’s images as they pass by, and if they take a picture, noting it and then returning this picture to individuals who text for it (see video below).


Similarly QR Codes are moving individual identities out of their own control, into strange and wondrous new domains:

What is next?

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