The Technium

Dynamic Census

We filled out our census forms recently.

Taking a census every 10 years is better than never taking it, but in the future, say in 100 years, a census should be taken every day. We are perfectly capable of counting all people all the time. Everyone born should have an immovable ID from birth. One based on all the things we base our identity on: from our DNA, to our family ties, to what we look like, to our behavior. Some of those things change a little over time, but together all of them create the web of our identity. We can track this web in real time. We are technically capable of it. Some people will not want to be tracked every day, and that is fine. We don’t need a political census on a daily change. That is to say, we don’t need to count everyone every day. Even if we checked on whether someone was still alive every week, that is all we really need to know, and maybe even more information than we need for political purposes. The important point is we can count people any time we needed to, if we can easily identify them. We know how to do that now. So in 100 years, waiting till every decade to count people will seem very archaic.