Why do humans search for identity

Professional jobs were once paid work performed with or without passion, while amateur jobs were not paid work. But recently we have seen many collaborative amateur workers, often using crowd-sourcing platforms, tackling professional problems with great success. A typical example of this is the concept of citizen scientists. And one well-known success story is the project on protein folding, where through gaming, amateurs made progress in understanding folding chains of amino acids so that therapies can be better targeted — and this has led to the development of synthetic proteins.

This suggests that human motivations are extensive and complex. We should also revisit productive and useful activities traditionally not counted as work, or paid for. These include clean-up campaigns as well as taking care of the sick, young and the elderly. With AI replacing both blue- and white-collar jobs, humans will increasingly be challenged to focus on what matters, beyond the traditional boundaries of the workplace or the notion of work itself, and pay more attention to important matters. The AI age will force us to re-examine what we know and believe about ourselves as well as how we relate to the world and other people through work.

When money no longer defines work and professions, perhaps core values and meaning might become more important. When we can no longer claim one central professional identity any more, we might gain multiple and more fluid identities. The fourth industrial revolution will unlock the meaning of work and change our identities. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

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Human identity in the age of Artificial Intelligence

Last updated: 4 hours ago. Save 9 mins. Finally Erikson's influence on the American obsession with identity was less a theory than a mood. He made identity into a romance. The idea of identity originates, of course, in logic. This is an assertion of sameness and an assertion of difference. An object is the same as all the objects that are like itself, and it is different from all the objects that are not like itself.

Now consider an analogy between the logical relation and the social relation. The question, What is your identity?

Identity, in other words, is a euphemism for conformity. It announces a desire to be subsumed, an eagerness to be known primarily by a common characteristic. I say primarily, since identity need not be perfect to be strong.

Why Do We Search For Meaning?

Logicians talk of "identity in difference. And it is never the case, even with simple objects, that there is a single criterion of identity. The ascription of identity, then, is the consequence of a choice among the criteria of identity. We have many likenesses, but we do not reward them all with significance. This is also a way of saying that A does not equal B.

Which might bruise B. There is solace, to be sure. But this is also a way of saying that B does not equal A. Which might bruise A.


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Identity is very social, but it is not very sociable. For the definition of the individual that it provides is not least a negative definition, a definition not only in terms of what one is, but also in terms of what one is not; and such a definition of the same will often be experienced by the other as a rejection. Identity is an insulation; a doctrine of aversion; an exaltation of impassability.

The bad news and for democrats, the good news is that the insulation is never adequate. The borders are permeable, and strange gods slip across.

Identity is not to be mistaken for individuality. Individuality is ancient, identity is modern. An affiliation is not an experience. It is, in fact, a surrogate for experience. Where the faith in God is wanting, there is still religious identity. Where the bed is cold and empty, there is still sexual identity.

Identity (social science)

Where the words of the fathers are forgotten, there is still ethnic identity. The thinner the identity, the louder. Private identity is an oxymoron. Identity is public; it is how one is known. Secret identity, by contrast, is entirely possible. It is not a reflection of inward realities, but of outward realities. Secret identity is a stratagem for survival, the characteristic improvisation of a minority in danger. It has a long, bleak past. The history of the Jews is replete with instances of desperate and dignified self-concealment, most dramatically in fifteenth-century Spain, and so is the history of homosexuality.

For all the African American anxiety about "passing," it is one of the defining hardships of this minority that its identity cannot be hidden. Identity in bad times is not like identity in good times. The vigorous expression of identity in the face of oppression is not an exercise of narcissism, it is an exercise of heroism. And those qualities of identity that seem vexing in good times -- the soldierliness and the obsession with solidarity, the renunciation of individual development in the name of collective development, the reliance on symbolic action, the belief in the cruelty of the world and the eternity of struggle -- are precisely the qualities that provide the social and psychological foundations for resistance.

For this reason, it is impertinent to address the criticism of identity to those whose existence is threatened. Still, justice sometimes comes. And when it comes, it is sometimes bewildering, because it proposes peace to selves that have been arranged for war.

7.3 Adolescence: Developing Independence and Identity

The identity that altered history yesterday is redundant today. The outer discontinuity demands an inner discontinuity, which is wrenching. Unless a rupture of identity is accomplished, there will be justice, but there will not be peace.