EGO Identity

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Session Topic: Ego Identity

Tuesday 2H

Convener: Alan Karp

Notes-taker(s): Amanda Anganes

Tags for the session - technology discussed/ideas considered: definition of identity, psychology

Erik Erikson "Identity and the life cycle", child psychology [1]

very hard reading – Alan did not read the whole book and does not recommend it

Book defines "Ego Identity", which is "how does the child come to know about the child's self":

  • sense of child's own continuity in space and time


  • the recognition by others of those properties

Personas - we know Alan as the IIW attendee

  • HP knows him as employee
  • wife knows him as her husband

Organizations have continuity in space & time and we think of them as identities

Definition doesn't include recognition of others as being "other"

  • Definition of self as not belonging to other groups, not being the same as other individuals
  • Boundary - recognition of boundary

Who is allowed to use an organizational identity

  • related to discussion of Anonymous

Jeff Jonas, "space time travel data" talk

  • he builds fraud detection for casinos
  • take question of two twins on stage presenting the same identity-which one?
  • physical body has continuity over space & time so that is how you recognize the real one

Perhaps we don't need both components? My self-asserted person, plus personas that others recognize; could be two different things

I don't have control over what an external circle identifies me as

  • Identifier vs identity

If I self-assert something about myself and others don't verify, it is not a valid ego ID

IDESG discussion about definition - WHY do we need to define Identity?

  • how is this useful? What does this help us with when looking at identifies and internet id?

Alan says we can attach trust to this definition of ID

Mark Miller, Jed Donnelley and Alan wrote paper called Horton's "Who Done It?” [2]

  • If Joe introduces me to Peter, I will hold Joe responsible for Peter - sock puppet, no Ego ID
  • If I later receive independent knowledge of Peter, now I hold Peter responsible for himself
    • now Peter has an Ego ID

Recognition forces it to be "owned" by others - I do not "own" my Ego ID, others "own" it when they recognize me and form an Ego ID of me

How is an identifier related to an Ego ID? When I send an email to you, I recognize your continuity in space & time and you have Ego ID

Fraud makes this interesting - creates a discontinuity of "own self"

This is NOT verifiable - not practical, this came from a psychologist!

Thinking about this definition may help us avoid vulnerabilities

Mark Stigler, short story "The gentle seduction", about the singularity

Short Cuts, short novel

What about replacement? Where does continuity stop? All of my cells have been replaced since I was born, new person? Organization has members, buildings, etc. that constantly change.

AT&T was bought & sold as a brand, now discontinuous

Identifiers are completely separate from Ego ID

HP & Agilent - HP recognizes itself as the continuation of old HP, but really Agilent (instrument company) is what HP used to do. Label has moved, ego ID is still intact through split. Agilent has its own new Ego ID?

For corporations, who decides what "the corporation" believes it's own self to be?