A post-Covid future: Getting used to our new identities, the realities of everyday life - 25/04/2040
This article recounts the experience of the writer during his last trip. The experience in question made me realize how much we are still experiencing the aftermath of the 2020 “Great Lockdown” pandemic.
However, like everything in our world in the year 2040, let’s remember that change began to take place long before. And that the pandemic has only accelerated and anchored this change in our daily lives. It could have been otherwise ...
So last week I had to travel for a family event (I will not go into details, trying to keep the little privacy I have left). On passing the checkpoint, I am handed a black screen which lights up before my eyes. In just a second I was identified, my temperature was checked as well as my blood pressure in the eyes.
In addition, the agent asked me for my social security card, which he scanned quickly before letting me pass.
With the problems of long distance transport due to more frequent climate events, it's been a while since I had traveled. I still had the good old electronic passport with iris control. But this is now stored in the administrative dungeons.
From now on, it is my health identity that counts more than my national, ethnic or administrative identity.
We should have noticed. From the end of the 2010s, the big technology companies were betting on betting on health-related applications: Apple organized its Apple Watch around its “Health” application and Google bought Fitbit for a bite of bread. The development of service monitoring our health and well-being was the trend of the moment: Peloton, iHeart…
At the same time, these same companies were developing new means of identification to unlock their devices. The famous Apple Face ID came to replace the fingerprint identifier button, it ultimately revealed a real asset for the company in the post-Covid19 era, the tactile becoming synonymous with germs, contagion… It was therefore necessary to facilitate use of our technological devices by limiting touch as much as possible and by promoting facial recognition.
Facial recognition has become the favorite toy of many authoritarian states (China and the United States in the lead) to not only control individual movements but take advantage of them to help their “national flagships” to develop targeted marketing.
The foundations were laid for the arrival of a pandemic that transformed our lives. Faced with this famous “invisible enemy” (cf. Trump) and to fight in this new “war” (cf. Macron) it was necessary to determine in which camp each individual was. Now, in a surge of rare international cooperation, governments have agreed to control movements on the basis of our health. The famous “immunity passport”, initially a simple journalistic expression, has gradually become a reality and your state of health a key to traveling.
If its use for Covid-19 alone has proven useless, the long-term expansion of the pandemic will have prompted states to focus more on the state of their health in order to "protect" their markets. But many experts agree today that the idea was more to use health as a discriminating factor.
And in view of this evolution, the technological devices already developed have made it possible to quickly create the methods and procedures to carry out these new controls.
Which brings us to this control experienced by yours trully who finally realized that what we wanted to control was not "who" I was but rather "how" I was. My identity is now defined by my health situation.
And a quick search on the specialized media quickly allowed me to realize that, unfortunately, all this risks leading to new discrimination: our health being now well scrutinized, what about those who do not take care of it? What about those who are not lucky enough to have good natural health? And from what disease will we be denied this or that service?
These problems were well seen in the many debates on social security: in the United States first but everywhere else then, the "ideal" model promoted by those who wanted so much to avoid paying for others having become widely known. Until everyone understands that health is not just an individual issue.
Once again, in the end, governments, struggling to adapt to a new context, seek to compensate by more control, more violation in our private lives, instead of relaxing the bridle and encourage collaboration and mutual aid to guarantee a good health to everyone…