ENCINITAS, CA (03.16.2018) – Seventeen years into the millennium, we may not yet look like the future society dreamed up by the movies—but we’re getting closer.
We finally have flying cars—or at least something that resembles them; we can summon a robot chauffeur with just the tap of our phones; and, to the delight of ‘80s kids everywhere—and the dismay of New York City—we can hop on the long-promised hoverboards predicted by Back to the Future.
But how much fun could it really be to cruise around in such new-age vehicles with nothing more than a piece of plastic giving us permission to drive them?
The digital wave that has touched nearly everything on our plugged-in planet has finally sucked up our analog driver’s licenses, offering a technological platform to store and display our most basic form of identification.
More than a handful of states have proved fans of such progress, signing up to launch pilots of the digital license program.
But despite its new-car-smell appeal, the real-world implications of the futuristic system remain largely unknown, and many have openly worried that the trade-off for shiny screens and more convenience will be greater susceptibility—to police officers who are a little too curious, hackers looking to abuse the system, or anyone interested in stealing our identities, whether individually or en masse.
There’s an App for That
Despite their new-age platform, digital licenses will mostly maintain the old-school design of our ID cards, displaying all the familiar information, such as our names, addresses, dates of birth, and DMV-styled headshots (although those could end up looking more like short video clips of our rotating faces, a la Harry Potter).
The digital ID would also include a barcode, much like the ones printed on our current licenses, which would allow computers to run real-time checks of the information when scanned.
The new factor, of course, is the way such data can be summoned—and updated.
Driver’s licenses would become just another app on our phones, with the ability to keep up with our current details in real-time, freeing us from waiting in the dreaded DMV line after a move or marriage.
And the virtual nature of our new identifications would make them more secure than the physical cards taking up space in our wallets, proponents of the technology have said.
*DMV.org is a privately owned website that is not owned or operated by any state government agency.