Why is 'you' complicated?

Joni Brennan
PresidentDigital ID & Authentication Council of Canada
Peter Watkins
Program Executive for Pan-Canadian Digital IdentityInstitute for Citizen Centred Service
Sime Pavlovic
Sector Vice PresidentCGI
03-11-2021 14.30 - 15.10

Industry Innovations TrackChannel 3Presentation

On its surface, identity is who we are and what we can do. Once, identity was simply recognition: We used physical features to recognize someone, and our network of relationships to understand their abilities and authorizations. But as humanity grew, recognition turned into assignment—giving people a national identity card, driver’s license, or university degree.

Dig a bit deeper, and identity quickly becomes philosophy: Hume said that the self was “a flux of unconnected perceptions.” Your sense of self includes not only your physical attributes and skills, but also your beliefs, values, interests, emotions, personality, and more. As we move into a digital realm, how do we create a representation of these complex, ever-evolving attributes that make you you?

In this session, we’ll take a fresh look at identity based on four distinct lenses:

    • The identity you’re assigned from your government
    • The identity you’re given by the financial system
    • Your emergent online identity across social platforms
    • Your inalienable identity as a sovereign individual

Are these the same thing? How well do they represent you? Are they a complete model of your identity, or is there more to it? We’ll tackle veracity—proving that we are who we claim to be, and that facts or statements can be attributed to us—and why trust is the most important currency in the digital realm.