virtual identity as drawn by an Artificial Intelligence

Identity in the Virtual

Self Identity

We have a virtual identity as well as a real identity.

Our identity is established within the universe we inhabit, which is determined by time location group and history data which we acquire through life. As humans we also collect achievements and possessions to give us the status which most sentient begins acquire through strength and appearance.

This has been the case for centuries, probably thousands of years. But is has changed with the advent of the virtual.

The virtual has changed the way in which we see ourselves and self identify, and yes, it has caused a lot of grief and can be used for harm, but it is here to stay.

How identity has changed:

Firstly, as animals, we identity our leaders by appearance and strength. Among humans this has been less important than status gained by possessions and achievements. This is no longer the case in the virtual, we can modify our appearance and create new identities. Because of this we identify with people on the basis of their appearance and their strength once more.

The virtual identity versus the real:

Possessions and achievements do not matter as much as followers. It is almost as if we are allowing our animal instincts free reign here in the virtual, which we repress in the real. Physical location no longer matters, since we can visit virtual locations at will. And because we can change our appearance in the virtual so much, the dissonance between the real and the virtual becomes ever wider. We find it really hard to maintain this dissociative persona and become addicted to our virtual persona.

Secondly we identify ourselves by the people we follow and the places we visit, the photographs and images we post. We have a new life in the virtual and we can be whoever we want to be.

It is a dangerous world. Visiting the wrong location or posting the wrong image can have dire consequences, both in the virtual and in the real, with people increasingly losing their livelihoods over tweets and inappropriate images.

There are individuals out there in the virtual who spent their time seeking out posts which they believe wrong. If they find something which they dislike then they will attempt to cause as much difficulty for the individual as they can.

it is not just ordinary people who build themselves alternative identities where they are cleverer, braver, thinner and generally the dream versions of themselves. There are also a lot of “fake” identities out there, with hidden agendas: sexual predators, bullies and controlling individuals with harmful intentions. The virtual is almost entirely a lawless place, and they can operate out there with impunity.

Most people are aware of the danger and are careful not to say anything which may offend any one of these bullies, and there are many  different flavours.

If they are wise, then they construct a virtual persona which contains selected elements of their real persona, or is orthogonal to it.

Thirdly, we are no longer identified by our real world achievements. We are identified by epithets such as gorgeous, or minging, or hero, depending on random actions which have not a lot to do with our real life experience. In the virtual, achievements are image based, and simply have to be captured on camera. They can consist of a collection of images of animals or our own pets, or of endangered species, or of beautiful photographs, which may not be taken by us. it is not unusual to voice banal opinions over images of flowers or sunsets. most people stick to opinions and images which are minimally assessable. Even so anyone in a position of power, or with a leadership role, is overwatched by an aggressive and vociferous minority who are able to leverage huge numbers of followers in their causes.

Dangerous Virtual identities:

The wolves of the internet, who leverage thousands of followers to create a homogeneous range of opinions, disseminate fear. They currently have enormous leverage among organisations who are confused by the way that opinions can swing for or against them on the basis of minor decisions of policy or the actions of individual workers.

I do not believe this will continue for long. There will shortly come a time when individuals can store private and public profiles. This has to happen or we will end up with a police state in the virtual. This may only happen after a virtual war over freedoms on the internet, but it has to happen.

The main reason why the wolves of the internet hold such power is because the current swathe of users lacks virtual sophistication. They are easily manipulated by haunting images and random events into making decisions which they will change in minutes based on another image.

Political internet Wolves:

These fake identities are particularly dangerous, because they leverage the child emotions of anger, envy and entitlement which most people learn to recognise as antisocial. As people grow up, they learn that they will never be rich or powerful, they will never become business magnates or rocket scientists, because they lack the drive and the energy and are happy to live a more relaxed life. At least two or three of your friends are likely to be fake.

Political internet wolves represent predators who offer money, work, homes and security in exchange for political power and control. They can be leftist or rightist, but are characterised by the fact that they make unrealisable offers to people who are afraid of losing everything at a time of extreme change.

Offering Security in changing world:

The world around us is changing faster than our education and aspirations can manage. For example, if we trained  as an architect, then even as we qualify, we discover that  most people can design their own house using software and use an architect to rubber stamp their ideas,; if we are a doctor, then most people self diagnose and arrive with a request for medication.

so let us return and see what the political internet wolves are offering. If we look more closely at what is being offered we see that it is a return to the past. When identity could be easily defined, and was not at risk form internet wolves. A place where old school jobs were available and respected and men were men and women were women. These identities are particularly dangerous because what they offer is unrealisable. once they gain power, and they already have in some places., then before long they will seek out scapegoats. why? Because, they will have to blame someone for their failures. Then they will trawl people’s internet histories to seek out the cause of their failures. If this does happen, then I predict right now that these victims will have some wealth which can be redistributed. This is because that is the only way such persons can deliver on their promises without creating a dictatorship.

We as virtual beings, need to be properly connected to the real and understand that people have individual rights to their identity. They may not be nice people, but they have a right to life. we cannot create virtual concentration camps.

It is time for humans to level up and understand what the virtual is really like.  Then they can create identities which are functional and free from manipulation and control.

Dream Internet Wolves:

These people breed utter dissatisfaction with the real. they create an unrealisable lifestyle based on people’s inner dreams. They may offer a lifestyle of swimming pools, adventure holidays, luxury, heroics, doll-like or comic-book beauty or vigour, or every kind of sexual pleasure.

Offering a Better life in a dull real world:

People surf their lives and return to their own feeling grey and lost, hopeless of ever achieving such peaks of satisfaction in the real. They literally destroy relationships by making men in particular believe that beautiful women will fall into their arms. or still more dangerously, that every kind of illegal sexual activity is within their remit.

people spend their hard earned money on imitating these unreal people, buying what they buy and doing what they do, and still feeling dissatisfied.  They return to the virtual, where their dreams are almost within their reach. – provided they change their identity and become someone else.

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