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Digital Identification - Opportunity with Risks

Frauds and scams have always been a recurring problem, both in the real world and in the digital world, but this has reached a new level with the emergence of artificial intelligence technologies and simulation tools.

It is relatively simple for someone to impersonate another person using deepfake software. This type of application allows the construction of a face with movements from a simple photo. The same can be done with the voice, performing simulations that can confuse most people.

The problem is so serious that information technology companies and financial institutions are seeking to expand their mechanisms for identifying people, making their operations increasingly complex.

But despite all the investment that has been made, malicious hackers always find a loophole in the code, through which they can practice their scam attempts, sometimes with success and others prevented by security systems and professionals who work day and night monitoring and opposing attackers.

All this will lead governments and companies, at some point, to adopt digital identity systems that are more than simple tokens carried by people. We're talking about something more significant, like an implanted chip or some other technology that similarly can ensure effective identification.

This might seem perfect at first. A virtually infallible system that would guarantee a high degree of security, both for citizens and for governments and companies.

Imagine a world where scams would be an exception, because people would be easily identified and validated in systems. Scammers could not impersonate other people, and even crimes would be easier to solve, because it would be possible to discard some suspects and identify others quickly.

Validation to make a purchase over the Internet would be more effective and secure. Access to your bank account and your social networks alike. The metaverse would be a totally safe environment.

There seem to be only advantages to such a system, and it is undeniable to recognize that the positive points are many. But like virtually all technologies, there are risks too. The most obvious risk is identity theft. Because whenever someone creates a new technology, someone tries to reverse engineer it to promote copies or modifications, and there is always someone interested in purchasing the product that results from these violations.

But that's not the only risk. There is also a risk inherent in governments themselves. After all, we are always subject to crossing the thin line that separates a democratic government from a totalitarian government. A government is a centralized force of great power and breadth. Its decisions can be effectively put into practice because of the force of law and its economic power. In addition, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, facial recognition and data analysis robots allow for a level of control never seen before. Due to all these elements, it is possible to assume that a digital identification system could become a risk, if controlled by a government focused on surveillance and repression. But although this risk cannot be disregarded, it is low in a scenario of strong democratic institutions, which is the reality in most countries.

In any case, it is possible to state that digital identity technologies will be implemented at some point in the coming years, because the volume of scams and fraud tends to increase to a level that makes it unbearable for citizens, companies and governments to deal with it. And changes of great magnitude only happen when people are convinced that this is necessary to stop their pain.

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