The Future of Our Individual and Collective Identity
A typically well-written and engaging article from Mark Manson. The Future of Self,
recently explored the future of human identity given rapid transformatory advances in technology.
This begins in a light-hearted way, exploring identity from the sense of future brain computer interfaces and mind uploads and what identity means when you can add, remove, and edit skills, memories, and even personality traits. But then we get into far more subtle and interesting discussions centered around the fact that we look for external references to identify ourselves.
External references are determined by your environment and material circumstances; you can’t be Mozart if the piano hasn’t been invented, and if you’re a poor strategist in the chess team you may be a chess god in a community that doesn’t know how to play. And you certainly couldn’t ask a caveman what side of the political spectrum they favoured: such a question, that we might consider a core part of our identity today, would not even make sense.
Technological and social development since the Enlightenment has continually boosted the complexity of identities that people can assume. Ponder then the impacts on identity when we have advanced genetic engineering and body modification, advanced robotics that provide mass unemployment and remove I am a [job title].
from people’s lexicon, and all the ways genuine and advanced VR will be able to mess with identities in ways we cannot imagine.
What happens when individual identities become so fluid and arbitrary and everyone realises the Self
is an illusion? Does the SELF-preservation instinct also dissolve? Realising that no one intrinsically
stands for anything? A unicellular organism that continually and arbitrarily swaps new genes in and out rapidly loses its identity as a defined species, and quite probably its ability to survive and pass on any replicable information at all.
This and more at: https://markmanson.net/future-of-self