Privacy is a hot topic. It wasn't long ago that Facebook was being dragged through the papers as Zuckerberg and Co. scrambled to bring their policies up to scratch. Now it seems that Google are getting, surprisingly willingly, in on the act with Eric Schmidt's prophetic comments last week, forewarning us all of the murky, digital identity dystopia to which we are undoubtedly, irrevocably, and in no small part thanks to his company, heading. It appears that this debate is in no way confined to sunny California, however. We dropped in on "21_21 Design Sight" museum in Tokyo this week to check out their current exhibition on this very theme.
Communication designer Masahiko Sato brought together a group of artists, designers and engineers to create an experience that would make some of these complex societal issues instantly tangible.
Visitors are taken on a journey of hi-tech interactions that explore the complexities of the relationships between the individual and society and ask how our daily lives might differ in a privacy-less future. Perhaps most controversially, visitors are asked to willing suspend their privacy at the start of the exhibition as all sorts of biometric data is taken, from height to iris scans, weight to gestural patterns. As you progress through the exhibition it becomes shockingly apparent how easily you can be identified by just walking down the street.
"The Definition of Self" exhibition will run until 3rd November and is well worth a look if you find yourself in Tokyo.
Sam Dunne is a designer, strategist and writer based in London. Sam is founder of design strategy agency Cohere and Contributing Editor at Core77—reporting broadly on design, technology, food and object culture.