17 October 2003
DIDW: ‘And you can also RFID people…’
It genuinely surprises me how easily some of the presenters here can slip from objects to people, or people to objects. It can only be because they’re answering very difficult technical - rather than social - questions.
But I’m left gasping.
I was sat by Akma at dinner on Wednesday night, so had the opportunity to talk it through a little with someone who offers a more personal (indeed, spiritual) perspective. Akma says that digital identity will only be adopted (or accepted) if it’s created in a way that doesn’t offend. It must be intelligible to people in terms of the way they understand their identity, and situated in relationships.
Some of the things we talk about here – e.g. phone numbers as names – could easily alienate non-tech folk.
Akma also alluded to the way some religious beliefs might preclude a wholehearted acceptance of some of what we’re pushing.
This thinking recalls danah boyd and her insistence on registration forms that don’t relegate women to second-class citizenship, and David Weinberger asking for profiles that don’t do damage to the truth of his identity by making explicit things that are otherwise not.
The profiling process must match the mental model of the people using it. Not so that it’s usable; not so that people can complete the pre-defined tasks… but so that they want to complete these tasks. Or at least wouldn’t feel that completing them violated their sense of self. This is a psychological, emotional challenge; not just a technical or regulatory one. The same ID solution can’t simply be ported from objects to people, or people to objects. Or, at least, most people wouldn’t accept that it could be.
I think there’s a lot to be learnt from the recent revolution in UK banking, which transformed the mortgage and investment models to allow Islamic customers to fully participate in the personal finance sector without having to do violence to their beliefs.
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» "The Social Life of Objects" from datacloud
Although they’ve primarily been used to track inventory in various ways (see RFID Journal for examples), Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chips open up new possibilities for research on proximity and movement of nearly any object. For example, tiny RFID... [Read More]
Tracked on 21 Oct 2003 02:37:35