To my friends who I want to learn this stuff together with – here’s a link to a super interesting podcast I listened to this morning about self-sovereign identity in VR. It’s way more important than my initial, simplistic understanding of it, so listen to the podcast and read more about it like I am. But the idea is we should be able to seamlessly navigate the entire digital universe using one identity (enabled by blockchain related tech) that we control rather than using separate authentication credentials for each. For example, right now we log into WordPress using one identity – user name and password – and Grubhub using another. We essentially have many different identities online, each controlled by a centralized authority, i.e. the companies that run the sites. Among other things, this increases our exposure to security risks.
Further complicating matters is how we log into such sites using our Facebook or Google accounts. This compounds the amount of data that those massive companies have on us. Yes, this enables these two companies to advertise to us better, but the bigger picture is scarier to think about. Not as concerned with potential mishandling by Facebook or Google in particular as I am by companies and governments in other nations. I have faith that the US won’t become a dystopia, but the rest of the world concerns me, especially since global reverberations are becoming quicker and more volatile.
This is especially important with VR because the tracking technology that allows VR to work will give far richer data about our preferences than what we clicked on while browsing through a website. It could track eye movements, biometrics, and a whole slew of unconscious signs that capture “us” far better.
Our digital and physical worlds are merging whether we like it or not. I think the more people that pay attention to what’s happening, the better. You’ll be encouraged to hear in the podcast that a bunch of companies, including large incumbents like Microsoft, are trying to cooperate to establish better rules for this kind of thing going forward. The efficacy of such movements depends on developers/ creators taking personal responsibility to help make it happen.