Identity, part 2

Continuing the thread from the other day…

Given that a photograph now suffices to officially identify you, all sorts of thoughts occur to me. Here is one.

When the current semester started, our department put my class in a room that was too small for the number of students who wanted to take the class. The number of students who can enroll is limited by the number of chairs in the classroom.

Which means a lot of students ended up on the wait list. Since there were not enough chairs to go around, the wait listed students needed to stand.

That is, I think those were the students who were standing — there was no way to be sure. Looking out at that first class, I realized that some of the waitlisted students may have taken a seat, and some the students who were actually registered were forced to stand.

In that moment, I wished I had a pair of glasses that could immediately identify who was who. I would then know right away whether the right people were sitting and the right people were standing.

I would also, incidentally, know everyone’s name, what their interests were, the date of their birth, and whether they played a musical instrument. In other words, I would be able to know far too much about them.

This is, in my opinion, not a good thing. And yet it might be the future we are about to go into headlong.

I think we should be giving this a lot of thought. We take for granted now that when people look at us, they don’t immediately know everything about us.

I’m not sure that particular right to privacy is something we should be willing to give up. No matter how convenient it may seem.

By the way, in case you were wondering, the department managed to find us a larger classroom. Now everybody who wanted to take my class is registered, and they all have a chair to sit in.

2 Responses to “Identity, part 2”

  1. J. Peterson says:

    Maybe NYU should take a cue from Broadway and start offering SRO tuition rates.

  2. admin says:

    The difference is that NYU, as an educational institution, is, and should be, committed to giving an equal experience to each student in the class. Broadway is under no such obligation.

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