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December 18, 2014
Slides: http://slideshare.net/LaBlogga
The Future of Personal Identity:
A Multidisciplinary Inquiry
Mela...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
What is Personal Identity?
 Intuitively appealing views
 Persistence, continuity of ...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Hypothesis
 If the evolutionary biological drivers that caused personal
identity to d...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Personal Identity: Multidisciplinary Question
3
Philosophy of Mind Psychology
Evolutio...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Philosophical Views of Personal Identity
 Traditional ‘philosophy of mind’ view
 Ass...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Philosophical Views of Personal Identity
 Self is a flux of unconnected perceptions
(...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Literary View
6
Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Within a Budding Grove, Seascape, with...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Biology Basics: Why do Individuals Exist?
Classical Biological View: Kin Selection
 K...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Biology: Individuals are not a Privileged Unit
 What are the appropriate units in
bio...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Biological View: Distinguishing Individuals
9
 Wasps wired to distinguish
each other’...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Biological View: Dolphin ‘Identities’
 Dolphins have a unique name
in the form of a w...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Theoretical Biological View:
Groups and Individuals
11
 Theoretical biology perspecti...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Psychological View: Personal Identity is…
 A person's conception and expression of
se...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Psychological View: Social Identity Theory
 Multiple ‘levels of self’
 A person has ...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Social Theory
 Identity Politics
 Political attitudes regarding the
concerns of soci...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Evolutionary Biology View
 Adaptation/fitness benefit conferred
 Co-evolution of cul...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
What about the Future?
16
Major Computing Paradigms (One per Decade)
The connected wor...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Blockchain Technology View
 Lessig: “Code is Law”
 Legal regimes: technically-bindin...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Blockchain AI
 Blockchain
 Decentralized trustless transaction
system in the form of...
December 18, 2014
Personal Identity
Multidisciplinary Conclusion: Personal
Identity is Ephemeral and Constructive
 Hypoth...
December 18, 2014
Slides: http://slideshare.net/LaBlogga
THANK YOU
Personal Identity:
A Multidisciplinary Inquiry
Melanie ...
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How Blockchain Technology is Reshaping Personal Identity

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A multidisciplinary summary of personal identity, the individual, and subjectivation in the fields of biology, psychology/sociology, philosophy, evolutionary biology, and blockchain technology. In short, there are no grounds for these concepts beyond their use as convenient human constructs. Philosopher Derek Parfit vociferously contested the notion of personal identity (Reasons and Persons), claiming that "personal identity is not required for the survival of the person." Hume, Derrida, Deleuze, and Simondon agree. What is especially interesting and relevant is the status of the individual and personal identity as we progress into new eras of digital reality, and the evolutionary biological case for personal identity in humans. Personal identity may have evolved to bring adaptive fitness to humans, but there is evidence that the adaptation may no longer be serving as well, and could be different in the future per the new connected world computing paradigm and blockchain technology.

Published in: Technology

How Blockchain Technology is Reshaping Personal Identity

  1. 1. December 18, 2014 Slides: http://slideshare.net/LaBlogga The Future of Personal Identity: A Multidisciplinary Inquiry Melanie Swan m@melanieswan.com
  2. 2. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity What is Personal Identity?  Intuitively appealing views  Persistence, continuity of memory, what it is like to be you over time 1. Immaterial souls, pure egos (religion) 2. Psychological continuity (Locke)  Overlapping chains of direct psychological connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits, and actions 3. Our bodies  Brute physical relation with the environment 1
  3. 3. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Hypothesis  If the evolutionary biological drivers that caused personal identity to develop as a fitness adaptation were to change, the need for personal identity too would change and perhaps disappear  Main evolutionary biological and cultural drivers:  Resource acquisition, status garnering, mate selection, group acceptance, gender roles (Hrdy)  Absent these drivers, how would the adaptation benefit conferred by personal identity change?  Examples of shifts in social goals and outcomes  Worldwide birth rate declines  Below replacement population declines (Japan, Italy) 2
  4. 4. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Personal Identity: Multidisciplinary Question 3 Philosophy of Mind Psychology Evolutionary Biology Evolutionary Psychology Philosophy of Biology Theoretical Biology Social Theory Sociology Sociobiology Biology
  5. 5. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Philosophical Views of Personal Identity  Traditional ‘philosophy of mind’ view  Assumes already-existing subject  Personal identity needed for continuity and persistence  Personal identity is not required for the survival of the person, relational experience between past/future selves and experience is (Parfit)  fMRI studies: We procrastinate because we think of our future selves as strangers  Third persons no different than politicians or celebrities 4 http://nautil.us/issue/9/time/why-we-procrastinate citing van Gelder JL, Hershfield HE, Nordgren LF. (2013). Vividness of the future self predicts delinquency. Psychol Sci. 24(6):974-80, and Pronin, Emily. (2008). How we see ourselves and how we see others. Science. 320(5880):1177-80.
  6. 6. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Philosophical Views of Personal Identity  Self is a flux of unconnected perceptions (Hume, 1739)  Self as a constantly re-written, re- interpretable text, written in difference to the local relational context (Derrida)  Subjectivation is the important locus, facilitated by the movement-image and the time-image (Deleuze)  Individuation as a dynamic world process of which the subject is an effect not a cause; living beings exist on a capacity spectrum for individuation (Simondon) 5
  7. 7. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Literary View 6 Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Within a Budding Grove, Seascape, with Frieze of Girls Philosophical Issue: Group, Individual, Particular Proust, Albertine, the ‘little band’ of girls at Balbec “…when I saw the little band again on the beach, and indeed long afterwards when I knew all the girls who composed it, I could never be absolutely certain that any of them — even she who among them all was most like her, the girl with the bicycle — was indeed the one that I had seen that evening , a girl who differed hardly at all, but was still just perceptibly different from her whom I had noticed in the procession”
  8. 8. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Biology Basics: Why do Individuals Exist? Classical Biological View: Kin Selection  Kin selection is the evolutionary strategy that favors the reproductive success of an organism's relatives, even at a cost to the organism's own survival and reproduction (Darwin, 1859)  Individuals are a mechanism for kin selection; individuals are able to identify their relatives (kin recognition); extended labor force (Hamilton, 1964)  Evidence: red squirrel mothers adopted related orphaned squirrel pups but not unrelated orphans (2010) 7 Gorrell JC et al. (2010). Adopting kin enhances inclusive fitness in asocial red squirrels. Nature Communications 1 (22): 1.
  9. 9. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Biology: Individuals are not a Privileged Unit  What are the appropriate units in biology?  Organisms do not play a privileged role  Genes, genomes, mechanisms, phenotypes, gene pools  Individual is merely convenient terminology  Individuals are spatiotemporally localized entities that have reasonably sharp beginnings and endings in time 8 Hull, David (1980), "Individuality and Selection," Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11: 311-332.
  10. 10. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Biological View: Distinguishing Individuals 9  Wasps wired to distinguish each other’s faces  Wasps identified colony facial images faster and more accurately than other types of images (2011)  Wasps developed better vision to identify others’ rank and possibly allegiance (fighting queens within colonies); scent only identifies the nest mate level MJ Sheehan, EA Tibbetts. (2011). Specialized face learning is associated with individual recognition in paper wasps. Science 334 (6060), 1272-1275. http://www.livescience.com/17259-paper-wasps-facial-recognition.html
  11. 11. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Biological View: Dolphin ‘Identities’  Dolphins have a unique name in the form of a whistle  Dolphins responded when they heard the sound of their own signature whistle, repeating that whistle back in a way that seems to say, "Yes, I'm here - did you call me?"  Bottlenose dolphins can follow "recipes" in preparing mollusks, help other species in distress, and possibly do math 10 Friedman, W. (2013). PNAS. Jul 23, 2013. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/07/130722-dolphins-whistle- names-identity-animals-science/
  12. 12. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Theoretical Biological View: Groups and Individuals 11  Theoretical biology perspective of sociality  “He who understands the baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke” (Darwin 1838)  Evolved biological individuals (not personal identity)  Revisionary view of individuality, adequate definition  Kin selection is insufficient to capture what is common to all forms of groups evolving into individuals  A theory of evolving individuality requires a sophisticated variety of concepts that  advocates some form of self-organization that supplements natural selection, and  accounts for the most complex forms of individuality From Groups to Individuals: Evolution and Emerging Individuality. Eds. Frédéric Bouchard and Philippe Huneman. 2013. http://www.livescience.com/17259-paper-wasps-facial-recognition.html
  13. 13. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Psychological View: Personal Identity is…  A person's conception and expression of self-identity including with regard to others' individuality or group affiliations (Wikipedia; Psychology/Sociology)  The concept you develop about yourself that evolves over the course of your life (Education-Portal: Sociology)  Self-knowledge that derives from the individual’s unique attributes (U Twente)  The distinct personality of an individual; characteristics by which a person is recognized or known (IEP) 12
  14. 14. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Psychological View: Social Identity Theory  Multiple ‘levels of self’  A person has not one, personal self, but rather several selves that correspond to widening circles of group membership  Different social contexts may trigger an individual to think, feel and act on basis of his personal, family or national ‘level of self’ (Turner et al, 1987)  Ecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner)  Multiple social identities  Self-concept derived from perceived membership in social groups (Hogg & Vaughan, 2002) 13 http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/theory%20clusters/interpersonal%20communication%20and%20relations/s ocial_identity_theory/; Urie Bronfenbrenner & Ecological Systems Theory
  15. 15. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Social Theory  Identity Politics  Political attitudes regarding the concerns of social groups based on identifications such as gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation  Anti-identity movement, text without author  “Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same, leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order” – Foucault, 1982 14 Foucault, Michel. (1982). The Archaeology of Knowledge. Vintage Books: New York, NY. Page 17.
  16. 16. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Evolutionary Biology View  Adaptation/fitness benefit conferred  Co-evolution of culture and personal identity  Drivers of identity and social behavior:  Resource acquisition, status garnering, mate selection, group acceptance, gender roles  “Apart from economic payoffs, social status, seems to be the most important incentive and motivating force of social behavior” - John Harsanyi, Nobel Laureate economist 15 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-psychology-of-social/
  17. 17. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity What about the Future? 16 Major Computing Paradigms (One per Decade) The connected world includes Bitcoin/blockchain technology as the economic overlay to what is increasingly becoming a seamlessly connected world of multi-device computing including wearables, Internet-of-Things (IOT) sensors, smartphones, tablets, laptops, Quantified Self-Tracking devices (i.e.; Fitbit), smarthome, smartcar, and smartcity.
  18. 18. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Blockchain Technology View  Lessig: “Code is Law”  Legal regimes: technically-binding vs. legally-binding  Constructs of identity  Social (forgive-forget, redemption, reinvention, memory=imperfect)  Technological (on-demand memory of all artifacts forever)  Fourth-person perspective: connected world’s continuous witnessing (QS gadgetry, IRC, Facebook, Gorgon Stare)  Identity: something intrinsic or 3rd party-bestowed? 17 Antonopoulos, AM and Ellis, C. (2014). Let’s Talk Bitcoin #160: The Philosophy of Identity.
  19. 19. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Blockchain AI  Blockchain  Decentralized trustless transaction system in the form of an encrypted permanent public ledger  A system of checks and balances 18 Terasem Movement Digital Mindfile Services: CyBeRev, Lifenaut  Possibility of enforcing Friendly AI  Digital Intelligence  Confirm reality environment
  20. 20. December 18, 2014 Personal Identity Multidisciplinary Conclusion: Personal Identity is Ephemeral and Constructive  Hypothesis is supported by these four fields  If the evolutionary biological drivers that caused personal identity to develop as a fitness adaptation were to change, the need for personal identity too would change/disappear  Biology  Individuality is not personal identity  Psychology/Sociology  Malleability of self  Philosophy  Relationality and subjectivation  Evolutionary Biology  Fitness adaptation 19
  21. 21. December 18, 2014 Slides: http://slideshare.net/LaBlogga THANK YOU Personal Identity: A Multidisciplinary Inquiry Melanie Swan m@melanieswan.com

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