Outsourcing and Immigration (WTF Series, 3)

What’s the relationship between offshore outsourcing and immigration? Here’s an interesting connection. Immigration brings workers from other countries to this one. With outsourcing, we send the work to them (because with fast networks, we can…)

For years Immigration was a hallmark of U.S. society, the melting pot and all that. Its fair to say that it’s been viewed positively. The people that are against offshore outsourcing today would have been against immigration in the past. (And I say that as an actual immigrant 🙂

Virtual People? (WTF Series, 2)

One of the reason that society needs people to transact with each other using real identities, maybe, is that in the end, virtual digital persona can’t own and transfer ownership. I can’t buy or sell or trade with a virtual digital persona. Corporations in fact are virtual people in some sense, and indeed they are legally regulated much like people are.

Maybe in the future the law will expand to allow my virtual identity to own and transact separately from me, with it’s own ‘social security number’, the ability to have a checking account, to own property and generate income. But for that to happen it would seem to me that the law would have to catch up and regulate digital personas as a third actor along with natural people and corporate-like entities.

Identities (WTF Series, 1)

Some say that it’s very important that they be able to use one identity while doing one thing, and a different one for another. In ‘cyberspace’ they want to be able to express themselves without that expression being tied back to them.

My gut reaction is that I don’t like this. It seems dishonest. It’s contradicts what is possible in meat space, where I have to stand behind what I say and do. Do they have something to hide? Shouldn’t they be held accountable for their statements?

Yes, but, some say, the net doesn’t forget. You can do a search on something you said or posted at the beginning of (internet) time and it will still show up. Don’t you ever say something that you later regret? Or that is innocent now but harms your reputation later?

Like many things, the speed and scope of computers and telecommunications changes things. Where in the past it was workable to consider impersonation as a bad thing, perhaps in the 21st century it is perhaps reasonable to support multiple digital identities.

Maybe. But the world works on personal relationships and reputation. I am willing to do business with you because someone I trust has told me that you are a good person.

RF-ID uptake slower than expected?

I’ve been a quasi-believer about RD-ID technology for a while now. I know more than several people who are investing their time and money into this space, but I am a fence-sitter. Briefly, why?

  • From what I hear and read, it doesn’t quite work reliably yet. The readers can easily be confused by multiple tags, mis-counting or mis-identifying.
  • While the advantages over bar-codes are very real, they don’t strike me as real enough to effect the kind of rapid industry change that fans of the technology are betting on.
  • The backbone infrastructure that will be needed to process all this super-detailed new data doesn’t exist yet. It strikes me that it might be an effort of Y2K proportions to upgrade the overall Enterprise software stack (ERP and others) to accomodate it.

That said, while I am a fence-sitter, I do think that RF-ID technology is very important and represents a real sea-change. I just think that it will take much longer than people think.(Remember one of my standard nuggets, it’s easy to predict the future, what’s hard is predicting exactly when.)

I was interested to see this article in the New York Times today about Wal-Mart delaying of their oft-cited deadline for all their suppliers to adopt to RF-ID.