Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, a journalist and author, is a senior editor at The Nation. She has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, and the London Review of Books, among others. Her first book was The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen (2015). (May 2018)

Follow Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on Twitter: @atossaaraxia.

NYR DAILY

The New Passport-Poor

Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, 1942

Drawing borders around people might give us a more orderly and predictable world. But for all the promised benefits of a frictionless experience of journeying, it may not be a more humane one. Passports might disappear in the next decade, but they’ll be replaced by something much more invasive: a digital shadow representing our bodies, our families, and our pasts, following us like little rainclouds everywhere we go.