There are almost 200 countries in the world inhabiting 6.5 billion people.
However, even if you are not aware yet, the concept of “citizenship” is changing. There are emerging dynamics that extend beyond the birthplace or having the passport of a country.
Almost all countries require their citizens to pay taxes (hence, “death and taxes”). The reasoning behind the taxation is the services provided by the government for the citizens.
However, what would happen if we decide to pay third parties to receive the same services instead of the government?
We all have a range of basic needs (health, nourishment, housing, communication, enjoyment, etc.) Until recently, we have been looking up to physical sources for needs but things are being shifted to virtual sources more and more and we are paying our “taxes” in different forms for these services that we started depending on.
As our dependency on local providers diminish, the local providers themselves diminish, in return, reducing the direct and indirect taxes that we pay to the local governments. They are replaced with “virtual, technology governments”.
Who are these giants? Apple, Google, Microsoft followed by the likes of Amazon and Facebook.
There will always be “virtual governments”, but the dominating powers change from time to time just like the “Earth governments”.
Let’s now see how what kind of services we are now receiving from “virtual governments”:
These providers are so deeply integrated in our daily lives that they have more of our personal information than our own local government.
· Our daily routines, home and work locations, other places that we visit
· How we communicate with others, patterns in our use of language
· Our activity history and medical records
· Our entertainment patterns
· Our finances and spending as well as budget planning.
· Our search and browsing history and interests
Nothing is really free in today’s world and we do pay for these services with the new currency of the world, our data, which is getting far more valuable than the traditional taxes. The data generated by the humankind is the resource of the future to be mined.
It’s not just about the past data, it’s now about predictions and artificial intelligence that know us better than we do in some ways. Our “virtual government” puts us in the middle of a service cloud that surrounds us from all angles.
With its available cash as well as its valuation, Apple is larger than a number of countries. It’s no surprise that the App Store review policies are getting more attention than the constitutions.
There were certain governmental initiatives in different regions to adapt to the new reality, but none of them was able to catch up with the “virtual governments” especially due to bureaucracy.
So, what is your “virtual citizenship”?