“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.”— Elon Musk
“New technologies and approaches are merging the physical, digital, and biological worlds in ways that will fundamentally transform humankind. The extent to which that transformation is positive will depend on how we navigate the risks and opportunities that arise along the way.”— Klaus Schwab
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”— Albert Einstein
“The digital and physical worlds are starting to come together more seamlessly – it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s coming.”— Mark Parker
“Being human in the digital world is about building a digital world for humans.”— Andrew Keen
“To be yourself in a world that in constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson
“We live in a digital world, but we’re fairly analog creatures.”— Omar Ahmad
Have you met your digital self? Me neither. Didn’t even know that I have one. Turns out that your digital self is rapidly replacing your meat self. This is not good in my mind. What exactly is a “digital self”, and why do we need one? Is a digital self possibly optional, or an essential part of our new world?
I spend a fair amount of time on the Web chasing ideas and content bits for this blog, but I have never thought about such activity in terms of a “digital self”. Last week, this mostly innocuous pastime stumbled across many articles on the rapid digitizing of all manner of formerly-human attributes.
Digging in a bit deeper, a surprise (or maybe not): World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and CEO Klaus Schwab seems to be leading the charge toward human digitization:
“The new technology age, if shaped in a responsive and responsible way, could catalyze a new cultural renaissance that will enable us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves – a true global civilization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to robotize humanity [emphasis added], and thus compromise our traditional sources of meaning – work, community, family, identity. Or we can use the Fourth Industrial Revolution to lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny. It is incumbent on us all to make sure that the latter is what happens.” — Klaus Schwab, Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution
“The fourth industrial revolution, however, is not only about smart and connected machines and systems. Its scope is much wider. Occurring simultaneously are waves of further breakthroughs in areas ranging from gene sequencing to nanotechnology, from renewables to quantum computing. It is the fusion of these technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains that make the fourth industrial revolution fundamentally different from previous revolutions [emphasis added].” ― Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Are we biological domains ready to be part of such a fusion?
I always have kind of thought about myself as a human being of some sort. It is more than a bit shocking to learn that I am becoming, or have become, a “biological domain”. Ready for fusion by the latest technology, with good old Klaus leading the way.
Klaus is an engineer of some flavor so he may well consider us human-type folks as biological domains to be manipulated and transformed by amazing digital technology. Even robotized, yet. Probably going to greatly-reset us while he’s at it.
Don’t know about you, but this whole happening is moving along way too fast for me. I haven’t even been properly digitized yet, so far as I know.
Whatever that actually means in practice.
Becoming properly and involuntarily digital
Technology, as always, seems to be moving along at it its own breakneck pace. Turns out that we (aka you and I) are well along the path to full digitization.
- Mark Campbell, EVOTEK, and Mlađan Jovanović, Singidunum University via the IEEE.org Digital Library lay out the path we are on, like it or not: “Digital Self: The Next Evolution of the Digital Human”:
Note : IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. So, time to shape up, all you low-tech biological domains (formerly known as ‘humanity’)?
“Digital interactions are taking on a more human-like appearance and behavior, but could or should they become our digital selves?”
“Digital Interfaces. First-generation digital interfaces were primarily focused on getting human requests or analog data into a binary electrical signal.”
“Digital Personas. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) ushered in the second generation of digital interaction—the digital persona. Sound, text, or images entered through cameras, sensors, microphones, and devices were interpreted by writing, voice, and image recognition applications plus natural language processing and natural language understanding models. … This interactive pipeline of smart input, smart processing, and smart output currently deliver an extremely nuanced digital persona.”
“Digital Humans. We are now realizing the emergence of third-generation digital interaction in which single-channel communications (for example, text in/text out or speech in/speech out) combine into a richer omnichannel model. We see speech and textual input augmented with gestures, facial expressions, tonal evaluation, sentiment analysis, context evaluation, and intent extraction to provide systems with more of the subtleties of human interaction than just the words. These enhanced input channels are processed by a combination of AI models and applications to derive responses and results. … Our digital human is a personalized personal assistant that will take on the cognitive tasks of digital transactions on behalf of the user, freeing them up to spend time on more meaningful human activities.”
“Digital Selves. Beyond gamified movies, virtual assistants, and online agents where the user interacts with a digital human defined and controlled by the service provider, we see a trend toward digital humans who are defined and controlled by the user to further the users’ own goals and objectives. … The democratization of digital identity is critical for the digital self. Tomorrow’s solutions will provide all end users with the ready means to create, govern, replicate, and destroy their virtual-world counterparts.”
“Digital World. As digital selves evolve, they will need to interact with more than other digital selves. More nuanced behavior and interactions are possible if the digital self is immersed in a virtual world with its own geography, physics, and objects.”
We are already our digital selves, it appears
As the possibly-helpful eggs-within-an-egg diagram above clearly illustrates, we are, like it or not, now part of a Digital World. We, aka you and I, are already Digital-Self eggs. With various attributes (e.g., realization, entitlement) that seem to me a bit vague, to say the least.
I’m sure that the IEEE engineers have a wiring diagram around somewhere that explains how all of this digital-self stuff is hooked up and powered. As a former engineer of this flavor, I am much concerned about wiring and power supplies.
Wait – it is coming together, maybe. Engineer Klaus and his WEF machinery may well be the wiring and power supply behind all of this egg-stuff digitization.
IEEE guys Mark and Mlađan are already thinking about human kind of stuff that would seem to be, or should be, of great interest to Klaus and his guys:
“Ethics: Although digital selves will be a boon to digital users, they raise ethical and technical concerns. For example, would it be ethical for a person’s digital self to refuse treatment upon receiving a diagnosis from a doctor, or make a large financial commitment based on an interaction with a financial advisor? Or would it be ethical for a digital self to act on behalf of a person who is incapacitated or deceased? One can imagine the digital self’s autonomy will likely be limited to the user’s abilities and expertise and include the human in the decision-making process.”
“Sovereignty: Who ‘owns’ the digital self? Is it the property of the user, the hosting platform, or the service provider? Can a subpoena be issued to acquire data, history, and content from the digital self, or does the human need to be notified?”
“Legal liability: What happens if the digital self breaks the law or does harm? Can the human user be prosecuted if their digital self commits fraud, money laundering, or harassment? If a digital self goes rogue and sells your house, can you undo the transaction?”
“From digital interfaces to digital personas to digital humans, user interactions with automated systems have become progressively more advanced and nuanced. We are on the cusp of the next step in this evolution—the digital self. We are only starting to imagine the advantages and utility these will bring to their users, but we have only just begun to visualize the issues that will need to be resolved before digital selves gain widespread use. We have met the enemy and, digitally, he is us.”
So, everything’s under control – as us engineer-folks like to say. Or perhaps, hope so. And, how exactly might our digital self be plugged into our now-obsoleting biological domain?
Does this have anything to do with digital IDs and digital currencies?
Why, who would ever think such a thing? Well, me for one, and probably you also. Even good old Klaus raised the possibility that some nasty person or group might attempt “robotizing humanity” via the “… fusion of these technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains”.
These fit together perfectly, as the-powers-that-be (TPTB) globally have noticed and acted:.
“If you’ve been waiting with bated-breath for them to mention central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), well wait no longer:”
“We welcome the report by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) on interlinking payment systems [and] the joint report by the BIS CPMI, BISIH, IMF, and World Bank on options for access to and interoperability of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) for cross-border payments.”
“Finally – and probably most concerning of all – they pledge to introduce international vaccine passports:”
“We acknowledge the importance of shared technical standards and verification methods, under the framework of the IHR [International Health Regulations] (2005), to facilitate seamless international travel, interoperability, and recognizing digital solutions and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccinations. We support continued international dialogue and collaboration on the establishment of trusted global digital health networks.”
“There you have it, the G20 shopping list that includes (but is not limited to): Food reform, energy reform, pandemic legislation, ‘cyber security’, CBDCs, and vaccine passports/digital ID.”
Helpfully, the Biden White House has recently greased the skids in this respect:
“As you may have heard by now, the Biden White House issued an Executive Order [EO] on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets [emphasis added] this past March. Although the order generated a lot of stories about how the administration was clearing the way for the possible introduction of a digital dollar, it should be noted that the Federal Reserve has been actively exploring the concept for some time now; the ‘go ahead’ from Biden was more window dressing than substantial policy shift.”
“Specifically, the Boston Fed has been collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Project Hamilton—a ‘multiyear research project to explore the CBDC design space and gain a hands-on understanding of a CBDC’s technical challenges and opportunities’—since the summer of 2020.”
“The first fruit of that collaboration—a report on Phase 1 of the project—was released earlier this year, resulting in new ‘learnings’ about the best way to design a CBDC and clearing the way for Phase 2, which, we are told, ‘will explore new functionality and alternative technical designs.’”
Probably making us biological domains fully interoperable, secure, and verifiable. Good feeling, yes? Assuming our remnant biological domains will still be allowed to “feel”.
The EO’s “Digital Assets” probably include our “Digital Selves”
Pretty clearly, we are not assets in the form of “digital dollars”, aka Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Digital money isn’t actually money by the traditional definition of money, as I argued in a recent post. It is more likely to be an instrument for control – of our biological domains.
However, the EO describes an effort to make the use of digital money unavoidable, as gold and dollars were in past. We do need money as traditionally defined to conduct transactions essential to life. It is money as a medium of exchange and a store of value that is required for civilized life beyond tribal subsistence and bartering.
Trade and value retention are part of what us humans do, and have done forever in various social contexts. Animals don’t do this, so I understand, making this particular set of activities a fundamental characteristic of humans. In effect, making money part of who were are – our “self-as-assets”. Self here including, for the moment at least, our now-obsoleting, biological domain, non-digital self.
By converting traditional money to a highly-regulated and narrow form, a vital part of our former bio-self is being magically transformed into part of a new digital-self. Not entirely transformed but definitely in a major and central way.
As noted in the post referenced above, digital money is a fantasy – without physical reality, and only functional so long as the electricity and computer machinery is active. No internet and its enabling technologies, no digital money. No digital money, no digital self.
Digital money is okay but with several major caveats
Digital money like cryptocurrency Bitcoin is decentralized and market-based. If it and its kin went away tomorrow, no problem except for their investors.
Digital money like CBDC’s is centralized and government-controlled (via central banks). If it gets established, it will not go away so long as we have the internet and associated facilitating technologies. It will become part of the government apparatus that lives, like various flavors of high-tech zombies, forever.
So long as decentralized and market-based digital currencies (“cryptocurrencies”) exist, CBDC’s have serious competition. The government in most societies abhors competition. It will do everything within its considerable power to kill off such competition. The FTX fiasco, possibly intentional, may just be one example. More to come.
Safety – for us persistent biological domains – lies in the coexistence of competing money forms. These offer us choices in our manner of trade and value storage. If CBDC’s are among the choices, fine. Time will tell how effective government systems like CBDC’s are in a competitive marketplace. Assuming that a competitive market survives.
Digital ID’s are probably bad under almost any circumstances
Digital ID’s, as a concept offering convenience and similar happy-stuff, seem okay in principle. The trouble is that this is where a bunch of powerful, agenda-driven, biological domain critters tend to get seriously involved. Think Klaus Schwab and members of his rapidly expanding WEF as examples of such critters here.
These digitally-focused entities, while (not-yet) government, have enormous aspirations of becoming just that: New World Order (NWO) “governments”. There is another word for this, but I have conveniently forgotten it. In any case, they seriously need digital ID’s to get their NWO machinery working properly. Think surveillance and control here.
Digital ID’s and digital (government) currencies are becoming a major concern for increasing numbers of people. Unfortunately, those driving these potentially dangerous technologies seem to be plunging ahead without regard for such concerns. This is a serious mistake, of course, since it just confirms and even reinforces fears that are growing and spreading.
One example is an article by Andreas Wailzer on Nov. 5, 2022, that appeared on LifeSiteNews: “Tyranny looms as digital IDs and currencies roll out around the world”:
“The process of rolling out digital IDs worldwide began years before the COVID fiasco and the publication of Klaus Schwab’s book ‘COVID-19: The Great Reset.’”
“The United Nations’ project ID2020 launched in 2016; its goal is to provide every person in the world with a digital identity. But the European Union created the legal framework for the introduction of a European digital ID even earlier than that, in 2014.”
“This March my colleague Ashley Sadler wrote a great article about how world elites are quietly preparing digital IDs to put a global surveillance state in place.”
“When we look at Europe, we can see that digital IDs are already used by most of the population in many countries, like Italy, Austria, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. “
“And even Ukraine has an all-encompassing government app called Diia, an acronym for ‘the State and me,’ which already combines digital identification with passports, licenses, social welfare benefits, COVID ‘vaccination’ records, etc.”
In case you, like myself, are a bit concerned about being “quietly” transitioned from a lowly biological-domain to a transhuman digital-entity or -self, the article goes on to note that:
“Our biometric data will be an important part of the digital identities of the future. Sadly, biometric mass surveillance through cameras with facial recognition is not limited to Communist China anymore.”
“According to a report by the European Digital Rights initiative, countries have been expanding biometric, digital mass surveillance across Europe for years. The report documents mass biometric surveillance projects in 18 German cities, 5 cities in the Netherlands, and some in other countries like France, Spain, and the U.K. An article on statista.com states that facial recognition technology is used in 32 European countries. “
“The EU plans to merge all the national and EU data systems into one giant ‘biometric super-database,’ a project that has already incurred costs of almost a billion euros. “
“U.S. government agencies are also collecting all kinds of biometric data from their citizens, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly wants to share that data with other countries, specifically European countries, in exchange for access to their own database.”
“Moreover, the EU has proposed a European asset register in which the entire assets of every EU citizen could be recorded and possibly linked to digital identities in the future. The official reason for this central asset register is to fight money laundering and tax evasion.”
Our digital selves seem already to exist in reality
Even though I haven’t, to my knowledge at least, signed up anywhere for a digital self, it is pretty clear that such a self has been created, and is being expanded and extended at this very moment. My digital self is just happening, and no doubt is already busy doing its own thing out there somewhere.
I find this very troubling.
It would be somewhat reassuring if this creation of my digital self was being driven by groups of trusted, well-meaning people. Assuming such people actually exist any longer in positions of power. Instead, the process appears to have been successfully hijacked (and perhaps even initiated) by way too many groups who are proving to be anything but trustworthy and well-meaning. One example:
“In my book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, I show for the first time in summary form how current technological developments will fundamentally change not only business models, but also governance, economics, indeed all of society and even the individual. All of this is happening at a pace that hardly allows us to prepare for these massive changes.” — Klaus Schwab
It is beginning to look to me like, speaking technically, a done deal.
As a practical matter then, what if anything can we do about all of this?
We all have or are going to have some kind of digital self, with a government-built digital ID, and using mostly government-based digital currencies. We can also anticipate that this machinery will be employed to our disadvantage by any number of rather nasty people and groups out there today.
I read these days all manner of calls for super-prepping, civil wars, dropping out, voting the bums out, and such. These seem at best to be largely impractical and, at worst, likely to make our current mess of things even messier. Sure are lots of folks all riled up – see last item below in Related Reading.
Digital ID’s for global surveillance, digital currencies for control
“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” — Elon Musk
“New technologies and approaches are merging the physical, digital, and biological worlds in ways that will fundamentally transform humankind.” — Klaus Schwab
These guys may not work for the same outfit, but they sure seem to be on the same wavelength, thought-wise. We are rapidly being transformed from biological domains to digital selves. Our Digital ID will be the key to the full range of data and intelligence (i.e., processed data) that will characterize each one of us as a Digital Self. The residual biological domain will be of decreasing importance.
What do you suppose they (the nasty “they”) are going to do with all of this surveillance data? Why, they are going to control us. China aka CCP is already far along this path. Kind of a modest test platform right now using just a billion or so people. And they have learned that it works very well as a control mechanism.
Now the rollout globally is underway. It would not surprise me to learn that pretty much everything of consequence that is happening today is tied into this rollout. But the big moves appear to be in Digital ID (self) surveillance, and to use what is learned – via CBDC’s (bank currencies) – to control what we do (and think).
This is a hugely important topic that I will try to summarize as best I can in the next post.
It seems pretty clear to me that we all have, or will have shortly, a digital self. Your digital self is rapidly replacing your meat (biological domain) self. This is not optional or even adequately controllable. The driving forces here are Digital ID’s fed by exploding surveillance, and Digital Money (CBDC’s), the mechanism for control of our new Digital Selves. This is happening today and probably cannot be stopped or even slowed. Are there any ways for us remaining biological domains to avoid being sucked up into this global vacuum? More on this next week …
- You just had to know that out there somewhere is an enterprising soul who is going to ride this digital-self wave and (maybe) make a bunch of money:
- John McNelly in a recent short article in FastCompany describes a “digital person” kind of critter that has nothing (much) to do with any of us as individuals: “What does it mean to be a digital person—and why would multifamily operators and residents care?”
“These technologies are finding their way into the mechanisms of the everyday, real world. And virtual though they may be, digitally created humans can provide enormous benefit and purpose to our physical world and lives.”
“What In The World Is A Digital Person? With the adoption of AR and VR accelerated every day, you may have already experienced a digital person. Digital people are human-like characters created by combining two primary technologies—computer-generated images and artificial intelligence—to craft a fully autonomous personality. Unlike a chatbot, you can interact with this visible person in lifelike and real conversations.”
“Digital humans can interact, learn, and express themselves in human-like ways. Their distinct personalities and emotional intelligence enable them to read the face and emotional tone of their human counterparts and adjust their responses accordingly. This AI-powered ability means digital humans are always learning and applying that knowledge to provide even more life-like engagements.”
- And to conclude, here is an example from leohohmann.com of what I am running across increasingly these days from a variety of angry “voices crying from the wilderness”: “G20 leaders agree to work toward mandatory digital health passports for all human beings: This will kickstart one-world beast system experimented with during Covid”
“They want you outfitted with their tool of control, the digital health passport or SMART Health Card, on your phone, so they can track you and restrict your movement whenever they feel the need for another lockdown or partial lockdown.”
“Global central bankers are just as eager to get their new digital currencies in place as health officials are eager for everyone to get a digital health passport on their phone.”
“This is no coincidence. These two components, the global digital money and the global digital ID, will work technologically hand in glove to enslave the human population.”
“So what Schwab was really saying was that no one will be allowed to opt out of what’s coming if the globalists have their way. It will be all-inclusive with, as U.N. Agenda 2030 [Sustainable Development] states, ‘no person left behind.’ I don’t know how else to say it. They aren’t making this optional folks.”