The Digitization of Reality


The Internet

The internet is a pivotal modern invention, and has empowered mankind to advance rapidly and efficiently. It is the great equalizer of inequality1, allowing a common foundation for anyone to access information and build applications.

The internet is an important component for the digitization of reality. We may not realize it, but the bulk of our lives are now stored as bits on the internet. Many of us have made a conscious2 choice to provide and store our data with online services to improve our lives. We are dependent on this digital extension of our reality to survive.

But at What Cost?

In an age where internet services are cheap and free, we are buying these services by providing personal data. We put our trust in corporations to store and secure our personal data. It is an irony that corporations understand and manage our data better than we do. We usually do not have complete access to our data, nor do we have the tools and technology to retrieve and manage an ever-growing set of new data synthesized by code, automation and services.

It is difficult and sometimes impossible to live without these online services, but it will become increasingly important to understand how we can better control our digital data.

Evolving with the Web

Despite the negative thoughts above, I am excited that we are living in the age of digitizing our reality. It is extremely powerful to abstract the real world into data and code, which allows us to better understand humanity through simulations, and build better tools and experiences. Digitizing reality also leads to improved knowledge-keeping for future generations.

The fundamental takeaway on evolving with technology and the web is to understand how we can better manage data privacy and security. Since our data in the digital world is an abstraction of our reality, protecting our data is comparable to protecting our real identities. A key concept in data privacy and security is:

There is no need for privacy and security if there is nothing relevant to hack.

The idea of building open but secure tools and applications is intriguing. This website, along with all of the data and code, is open to the public web. However, it is secure because it only exposes relevant data and code publicly.

With that being said, this post will be the first digital imprint of myself on the internet. I intend to write and build on ideas and projects that evolve my digital identity online.

  1. In reality, this is not true, but it is an idealistic view shared by the internet creators.
  2. Or unconscious.