The Enlightenment philosopher David Hume proposed that identity is nothing but the bundle of our past experiences.
Don’t test me on this, because I just read it on Wikipedia, but it seems like a good place to start this piece of introspection on the need for a unified identity.
It goes like this.
Context: I work in two offices with different contactless card entry systems. I also have an Oyster card for travel in London. Several times I found myself absent-mindedly trying to get into the office by touching in with my Oyster card. (It doesn’t work.) Then I tried swiping my door card to get onto the Tube. (That doesn’t work either, but it annoys the person behind you in the queue.)
Problem: How to gain access to multiple offices and transport networks without thinking, thus freeing up vital seconds for scanning free newspaper headlines, checking answerphone messages and generally daydreaming.
Solution: I observed that many people now put all their entry cards, along with other stuff like tickets and house keys, into the handy plastic wallet that comes with an Oyster card.
I tried this DIY aggregation of authentication and payment: it works. Now the world’s my marine molusc (subject to the access restrictions imposed by Transport For London, my employer, and other competent authorities.)
At least it will be until I lose the whole lot of it in one go.