In our wonderful capitalist society, our government offers a variety of aid and other helpful services. One of these services that they have implemented back in the early 1930’s was social security. The gist of social security focuses on that whenever an employed person here in the United States receives their pay for any employed work they are in, they are required to deposit a small percentage of that check for social security. When it comes for a person to retire and if that person did actually give a set amount of money to the social security fund they would receive checks for their retirement period. How they keep track of each individual’s own deposit is by assigning each person a social security number that is unique to that person.
Just like social security, there are a variety of ways that computers assign you the users values for a number of tasks. In this blog-post I am going to point out some of the ways computers keep track of who you are in the digital domain.
My first example is doing something as simple as getting on the internet. Whenever you jump onto the vast network know as the internet your internet service provider assigns you a number that represents what to send and receive data/commands from. Say you were searching up something on Google. Well whenever you make a request for a search the website needs to know what that number is so that they can send the correct information to display for you.
When you make support requests for something that is broken whether that is your computer, iPod, or any other device, the website assigns you a support number for that particular situation. This allows the user to ask questions relating to that situation by just posting that reference number. In most cases though most supports use this to access the archive you had with a support technician (assuming that this was chat-based communication).
In modern video games this can be seen as a way to locate friends or make trades with a specific user. In Diablo 3 for example since the executives at Blizzard assumed that the player base for their games would be so huge, that there would be people who wanted to have a certain username. In this scenario lets assume your twin friends Joe and Josh both decide to have the username Megaman67. The thing is you want to make a friend request with only Joe because he is going to play cooperatively with you. When you go to search for the username there could be more than just two people registered on that name. Well if Joe knows the number that was also assigned to him only he can give you that number so that you can put that in the add friends search tool and that problem is assigned instantly.
Search engines have been known to form profiles based on what you are looking for. You might now be actually grouped into a number, but you have been categorized based on what interests you. If I was to search for the newest wireless mouse on the market, I might end up getting ads or other forms of media relating to other computer devices.
That is just a few ways on how the modern user is being defined as a number in the virtual world. Even though some people may not like that idea, with the increasing numbers of our population giving everyone a string numbers stays the quickest way of keeping track of everyone.