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Are our devices our virtual selves or are we slaves to them?

Our virtual selves or are we virtual slaves?

When we replace our phones on a contract upgrade or whatever, because of account back-ups, our new phone becomes a shinier, newer version of the old one.
That much is obvious.

This is where I stop calling it a phone by the way. It's a device. Or if you take it a step further, it's a body for our electronic self.
I think we do have an electronic self now. Our memories (as photos and video), our list of friends and family, our bills, calendars and anything else you want to store in an app; you could think of it all as uniquely 'you'
It's as private as you make it. It will never be forgotten and if you maintain it, with back-ups and updated passwords, it helps your life run more smoothly.
In a way, it's an improved version of some aspects of us that we don't want to have to worry about.
The government, your wages dept, banks etc all want to interact with the virtual 'you', the version of you they can easily see on a database or spreadsheet. They only need the real you as a secondary opinion.

Your real, normal self also has the ability to make things difficult for your virtual self which, in turn can circle back on the real person.
For example, the virtual 'you' knows, to the penny how much money is in your account. The real 'you' is easily distracted by shiny things. When the dopamine levels are right, it forgets about money etc and wants what it sees.
The real you overspends and makes the virtual you overdrawn.

Will there ever be a point when the virtual self can over-rule the real self?
And how would that even work?
And would it mean we would each have created our own Frankenstein's monster?

We are already there, in my opinion.
And our virtual bodies have things our biological bodies don't. Where we have arms, legs, toes etc, our virtual selves have things like driving licenses, bank balances and credit scores. These are abstract things but can directly control what the real you is capable of doing.
If virtual me has a bad credit score, I can't get credit and might struggle to buy all the shiny things.
If the virtual me has six points on their driving license, it might cost another five hundred pounds on my car insurance which would mean my real self would have to earn more or sacrifice something shiny to buy insurance.
If my medical records (virtual me) show me as having narcolepsy, they chop off my driving license; a license-ectomy. The real me can't drive and has to get a bus.

The big brother idea in 1984 is real but they don't use cameras; they don't have to.
Everything we say or do that can directly influence our virtual selves is monitored and the consequences circle right back around to our real selves.
They don't have to monitor our biological bodies because it's so easy to monitor our virtual identities and control us using those.

Posted by Tom on Thursday February 27 2020

1 Replies

Very informative

Lewis, Saturday November 27 2021

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