Dear lawmakers and regulators, this draft industry paper doesn't do the job. I explain why in the hope that you will act.Read more
As Einstein intimated , everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Current architectures for digital identity — intended to meet some definition of the needs of the complex living system that is human society — are dangerously too simple for the task.
Even self-sovereign identity (SSI), not infrequently held up by its champions as having the requisite complexity by design or claims to that effect, encodes distressing emergent outcomes.
Phil Windley claims that a technology stack consisting of self-sovereign identity (SSI) and related technologies has all the qualities of generativity. He does so in his latest blog post with reference to Jonathan Zittrain’s 2006 paper The Generative Internet. It’s a well-known and well-respected reference I offered among others in 2019 on using the adjective generative in the context of identity.
Zittrain qualifies technological generativity as a function of its “capacity for leverage across a range of tasks, adaptability to a range of different tasks, ease of mastery, and accessibility.”
Phil recommends the paper in support of his argument.
I recommend the paper to counter Phil’s broader argument and to underline the purpose and value of generative identity.
First published to the AKASHA Foundation blog.
With thanks to those who commented on draft versions: Matthew Schutte, Jonathan Donner, Martin Etzrodt, Andrei Sambra, Mihai Alisie.
Hero image generated from the original image by Ryan Alexander.
I'm going to outline three ways to think about digital identity to help move the conversation forward in line with the AKASHA Foundation's purpose. I'm not claiming any neat taxonomy per se, just exploring very different degrees of nuance with radically distinct implications.
- Relating to how personal and group identity is manifest online, naively
- Relating to how personal and group identity is manifest online, expertly
- Relating to how we might employ digital technologies to transform society's accommodations of and approaches to identity, generatively.
It seems from observation alone that quite a few technologists work in this mode, excited to be bringing pre-digital bureaucratized identity into the digital age.