Is It Really You?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on September 28, 2016 in Internet |

Did you catch the comment by François on my last post? A simple but very relevant question: how do you know that I am me. He might just as well have asked how we know who anyone is, on the Internet. How can we trust anyone who we have never met, never seen, never heard from by any other means than a string of code sent out from one server to another and then translated into words and images on a small screen? We can’t do a lie detector test, touch the person doing the writing, hurry round to catch them at the keyboard. We do not know, to be honest, who is writing, who we are communicating with, who it is at the other end of the computer line. It might just as well be Mrs. Amelia Morgan, wife of the late Mr. Charles Morgan, an investment banker in Nigeria who left two hundred million dollars, dearest one, which now needs to be transferred…

How do I know that the person asking me the question is not just posing as François. After all, it is a very long time since he has been in touch; far longer than the last time I wrote here. Perhaps Elon Musk has already been successful in his expeditions to the Red Planet and a whole load of Martians have now taken over positions in banking, the Internet, consulting, government…


Photo Source: Valeri PizhanskiCreative Commons

It amused me to read a serious question – or the poster claimed it to be a serious question – on Twitter (which I, of course, cannot now find) asking whether her children, thanks to Elon Musk, would now be Martians. Several sarcastic answers went through my mind, but I subdued the urges and moved on.

The initial question, not the Martian one, reminds me of those questions I was subjected to right at the start of this blogging experiment – as it was then. Back in the day, when someone accused me of being a man, another thought I was an old woman, and a third made comments about toothless somethings which now evades me. Perhaps forgetfulness is a part of my (perceived) old age. If I am getting forgetful, how do I know that it is me in the mirror in the mornings?

However, just to put François’ mind to rest: the photograph here refers to something few seem to have taken note of. You will understand it.

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