Maybe an interesting way to keep track of socks, locate lost possessions, car keys, tools, go into so called wearable technology but not in you, and certainly not for want of never losing your keys, finding a place to put your wallet/credit card, room key at the beach, medical records available at a swipe, thrill you get at doors opening by the wave of your hand.
It isn’t a real life substitute for the force and it’s not supposed to be; as great as technology and the world is today this isn’t Star Wars. Oh how quickly we forget that universe too had its problems; great to read about, see movies about, absolutely horrible to LIVE in, remembering exactly where Darth Vader’s force sensitivity led him, hmm. Seen as the logical, if not natural, progression of technological advancement from so called wearable tech such as the Fitbit, the Apple watch, drones that look like oversized wrist watches complete with cameras, a different spin on implanted medical devices think pacemakers, insulin pumps, the LVA D artificial heart system, implanted chips aren’t a new idea reaching from science fiction to reality. Further growing thinking appears to be, if you can keep track of your dog or cat, ferret, lizard or other exotic pet using a chip, the consumer electronics show exhibit not long ago featuring RFID tags for your socks so they never again get lost in the dryer, why not simplify our lives, stop being forced to carry around all those credit, debit cards subject to being lost or stolen, identity cards from divers license to social security card, difficult and costly to replace should they be stolen, particularly in terms of identity theft? VHS finally got it’s long, in many opinions overdue, upgrade to DVD, streaming a replacement for too soon Blu-ray; specific streaming services, Netflix, Hulu, Roku Apple TV, Chromecast variations on entities we already knew, think CBS’ All Access set to host the newest Star Trek Series, HBO Go, Showtime Anytime came right along with it. Plus ‘illegal’ sites giving you all the old and new TV you could want free; movies are a bit harder but with Torrent and the like far from impossible. Why should we have to worry about someone hacking our smartphone, virus and malware attacking our phones too necessitating anti-virus software just like our tablets, laptops oh joy; possibly putting us over the 3 device maximum for most subscriptions especially when handling whole family device counts. Or more aptly forgetting to password lock the thing in the first place, stress over venders, shops, retailers who don’t take systems like Apple Pay; speaking of passwords, who can remember all those passwords they insist we change every 5 minutes anyway for security, who hasn’t mixed it up with our social security number, work e-mail or access codes, PIN numbers for online accounts, credit cards? Never trying to shove your wallet, room key, credit card down your bikini, having it fall out of your swim truck pockets, belatedly remembering they were in your pockets now in some exotic ocean thanks to your vacation excitement was the selling point at high end Spanish hotels nearly 10 years ago when they introduced chip readers in lieu of room keys, marketed them as alternatives to wallets and credit card carriage by a pool with a chip, and because you have to be standing right there, the technology works on extremely short rage radio waves, being buried in layers of skin no more theft, fraudulent charges, hurray. An employer in a high risk, high security job grappling with workers continually losing their assigned security badges or just tired of replacing workers’ security cards after they bring it to you having obviously been run though the wash cycle— multiple times, sick of the expense of replacing them after the magnetic strips, chips whichever have worn out and it no longer functions, had prior problems with break-ins stemming from lost/stolen badges, a disgruntled current/former employee, simply want to prevent that considering the rash of workplace shootouts, shield yourself from unstable persons usually with guns, around potentially dangerous, in the wrong hands, materials; then chips are ideal, equip your workers and your facility with chips and chip readers respectively and you’ve got the ultimate in security, so it is believed judging by the positive spin documentaries coming out of say Sweden and BBC reporting. Nor is, latest generation RFID implantation, necessarily pushing envelopes in the areas of science and technology enlightenment ideas to present day, from the Scopes trial onward; science fiction’s visions of our future always got their first; RFID stacking up pretty mild to science fiction’s prodding us along, prompting us to try and construct a real, functioning lightsaber, people can’t help but see current tablet technology and think of the later Star Trek models of hand held computers, knowledge we are well on our way to fashioning a tri-quarter. Asking and answering can we make a robot do what it did in classic movie X, is it possible to do thing Y; science fiction and science/technology based commentary, analysis not without its dire and apocalyptic warnings about technology spinning out of control, what can and will happen if we give too much of our freedom over to devices from Terminator’s Skynet to Robocop’s look at negative technology integration into the human body as total flipside of classics The Bionic Woman and 6 Million Dollar Man. Almost always accompanied by dystopian futures a-la Orwell’s 1984, Isaac Asimov’s I-Robot, Soylent Green, 12 Monkey’s (movie or TV series remake) The Divergent series, Syfy’s short lived Incorporated well belying the nearly utopian maybes of Gene Rodenberry’s all-encompassing Star Trek franchise. Unfortunately history seems to be pointing us in the direction of the dystopian gaging reactions to security concerns, proposed solutions to those concerns, ‘alternatives’ being created; worse this time around is the unbridled enthusiasm for an RFID chip housed in your hand and not just by tech geeks who are excited by the next new thing, next breakthrough, next marvel someone has managed to reach, tech mountain climbed. Rather by otherwise ordinary people perhaps dazzled by their iPhone, liking their tablet but not particularly tech driven; not only have we slowly lost our aversion to having foreign objects in our bodies, the procedure billed as no more painful, invasive than a tattoo or piercing, especially younger generations sport aplenty, we continue to downplay serious risks, implications of getting yourself chipped, that as the technology stands right now you’re looking at getting multiple chips if you want to fully de-card your life. One in each hand to operate everything plus at least one more for medical records, a fascination dating back over a decade with increasing interest; in 2014 a BBC writer was waxing almost poetically about why he wanted one, blatantly to see if he could get one enamored with what it could do, or more aptly what he thought it could do, on par with another European had tried it but couldn’t find a silicone coating to forestall the body’s reaction to a foreign object, you’d think that would make him think twice, reconsider, hardly. CNN as far back as 2006 profiled at least the idea of what was profiled by the BBC in video circa 2015, a world where bosses can now compel you to get chipped or forget that job, workplaces who solved their worker ID badge problem by installing chip readers and lining people up to get implanted, location Sweden; Stockholm to be precise. Where an obvious tech-y from BuzzFeed went last year after embarking on an interesting, at least to him, tech journey that began with him spending a month attempting to pay for all his items using his phone, finding it exceedingly difficult as many places in America don’t take electronic pay methods wired to your phone, struggle to get card readers, updated POS (point of sale) machines) leading him to be implanted with a microchip. Then he wasn’t done yet, he still needed the help of a friend to bridge the gap between cutting edge tech and old systems using something called Venmo password; plugging that account into his ID chip to pay for things, finally achieving his new goal of paying for an entire meal at a restaurant with his hand. While the Ohio surveillance company ‘implantation’ was completely voluntary and clearly testing the waters 11 years ago and the BuzzFeed author was delving into the future of money, how he chose to go about it represents choice, exploration, curiosity; Sweden’s moves are a little more insidious and compelling. First, as the BuzzFeed author noted, they have migrated farther away from cards or the nearly obsolete cash payment forms opting for mobile payment systems and chip readers not to mention professionals to implant them; next workers at the company featured by BBC all apparently agreed to chip implantation as a condition of their employment, we don’t need a crystal ball to see where this is going do we? How long before, in Sweden at least, it isn’t voluntary if you want a job, need medical care, wish to buy standard, basic personal hygiene items, food, rent an apartment; the UK and other small European countries the next to likely follow suit. Sold to the public as ultimate security, identity protection, removes the need for carrying cards or documents, eliminates what can happen in fire, natural disaster— loss of important personal data. Here is what older, slightly religious to absolutely fundamentalist religious persons, those simply reasonably cautious talk about when they shout mark of the beast, start correlating RFID technology to eternal damnation laid out in the bible for all who take the mark in their hand or forehead, without which they will be forbidden to buy or sell goods. Current technology, its pushed for direction begging the question, if the bible is the hoax, merely moral guideline book filled with endless inaccuracies, implausibilities, then why does RFID, its potential future offshoot technologies include a creepy picture of a man wearing an adhesive circuit board on his forehead? Thankfully the U.S. and most of the world has a long way to go before RFID could be remotely commonplace.
People familiar with my work know my continued chronicling of this technology and repeated cautioning against it; in addition to the litany of possible negative bodily effects always seeming to get the last 2 lines maximum in any article, no true in depth thought given to what could physically, medically go wrong, are the vastly underplayed societal ramifications equally needing to be combatted, as is public apathy to something that has the potential to exert more control over a person than any object, government entity has a right to. Those who dispute biblical references to the mark of the beast, the eternal damnation comeuppance purportedly visited upon non-Christians to be doled out at a still undetermined date in our distant, not so distant future featured so prominently in the Left Behind book series/movies should ponder the following question left as yet unanswered; if not spiritual consequences, are we in for continuing to use said technology fostering a one world government where, ‘the man,’ apply called ‘big brother’ is in every aspect of your life to far greater degrees than we now constantly must resist, keeping in mind reactions to warrantless wiretapping, NSA surveillance, Edward Snowden anyone, government mass data collection. Worried about the vast number of cameras snapping photos of us throughout any given day; data breaches not only representing disconcerting flaws in our ever dependent technology but anxiety producing hyper vigilance around privacy; who has our data, what they plan to do with it, what technology will let them do with it before laws are crafted to protect us. Said laws being continuously undermined by the current presidential administration just putting forth a bill that would allow internet service providers to sell your browsing history to third parties, surely under the pretense of giving you a better browsing experience, ads only tailored to products interesting you and your family; opposing lawmaker summing it up beautifully, “Give me one good reason why Comcast should know what my mother’s medical problems are,” said congressman Mike Capuano during the hearing before the vote, explaining how he had researched her condition after a trip to the doctor. “Just last week I bought underwear on the internet. Why should you know what size I take? Or the color?” [Sic] All due respect to the congressman’s undergarments and the tinge of silliness housed in the example versus say political searches, employment searches, he is absolutely right on 2 distinct fronts; first, it is none of their business understanding existing law doesn’t say they can’t sell user information only that they must obtain your permission before doing so, respect your decision to opt out, say no to selling the information. Secondly, arguably more important to their financially driven ends, if you flood the person with ads for item X, Y type of underwear in specific brand, color Z it will be futile because you’ve already bought the underwear you need; sidestepping if they were a gift for someone, you’re researching something for the purpose of expanding your knowledge not exclusively for personal use, then sellers of your browsing history have given a false impression to the end recipient of that information meaning they won’t sell to you as successfully as they planned. We’ve arrived at a point currently where employers can legally already choose not to hire applicants who smoke in half the states comprising our union without smokers’ rights legislation, who have previously tried to fire workers for smoking in their own homes, refused to hire people on false perception of physical fitness, the concept you can be an adequate 300 lb. firefighter, fired people for benign things posted on their social media pages. Brought photocopied paper documentation of their social media accounts into a job interview to discuss with the applicant for a starter job at Home Depot or other retail, fast food type employment; less to check for major red flags and more to intimidate applicants, support far reaching speculations or amateur psychological analysis, basically looking for nitpicky reasons not to hire any worker they think might pose the slightest problem. One employer who appeared to have a snitch operation going on at his pizza parlor tipped off by a fellow employee that their new hire wasn’t enthusiastic about the job, to which he responded by firing her via twitter before her first day; raising questions about his business practices and possible perversion stalking a teen’s social media pages for any reason other than suspected criminality, thought they might be in trouble then reporting it to police, parents to the tune of getting the young person in question needed help. Simultaneously punishing middle management and higher professionals, beginners in select fields for lacking a social media presence, online footprint correlated to their work, professionals punished with lack of job, promotion for not having a LinkedIn page, stereotyped older workers thrown out of the running due to their ‘too old’ outdated yahoo, Hotmail accounts. Mismanaging technology through skype interviews giving potential employers a birds eye view into people’s bedrooms and an implied license to make value judgements, job fitness judgments based on crooked pictures hung versus attention to detail, ‘inappropriate’ Victoria secret posters belonging to a straight, single male job seeker, because of one bedroom apartments, DSL internet service and one phone line, bedroom being the quietest place in your multi-bedroom apartment shared with roommates, unable to afford that out of touch suggested home office, the trifold backdrop and tripod for people looking work, didn’t have time/money to cover windows in recommended paper colors to avoid light glare, appearance of ‘unprofessionalism.’ Checking your credit score not merely to see if you qualify for a loan, car, mortgage, personal, not as part of modern day apartment hunting or to get into an exclusive complex (side note why we have so many people applying to and qualifying for subsidized/public housing) but to determine your fitness as a job candidate; dubious why almost as infuriating as the action itself, not because employers think with a bad score you’ll be more likely to steal from the register till, embezzle funs your accounting, syphon money from your bosses, no their chief concern, distraction while at work brought on by your financial woes, seriously? Insurance car to health, life is presently, and has long since been, based on what kind of risk you pose to your insurance company; lifestyle habits exercise, smoking, obesity, preexisting conditions or the lack of them, so much so several commentators have remarked recently politicians even insurance firm CEO’s, lower level managers, operators don’t know how insurance works, how insurance was designed to work. Ordinary citizens openly calling predominately health insurance a fraud exchanging paid monies for services, if ever needed, healthcare coverage something people can’t avoid using if only for preventative monitoring; never delivering what’s promised, finding outlandish reasons to renege on a contract. But advancements in genetic testing are opening up new quandaries about what information employers can and cannot use in choosing an employee, they can compel an existing employee, job applicant to divulge about their health, medical status or any genetic testing they have undergone either out of curiosity, seeking peace of mind or at their doctor’s urging. Yet the GOP is set to upend additions to the Americans with disabilities act and a 2008 law prohibiting employers from mandating said genetic testing be performed, forget them gaining access to it, never mind as part of poorly disguised employee wellness programs meant to truthfully charge the supposedly genetically predisposed thousands of dollars in fines not to mention the impending higher premiums; keeping in mind a genetic tendency toward condition X is not a guarantee you will get that condition. Now picture a world where there is no expectation of privacy, it’s all right there in/on your chip and with a simple scan everyone can know everything about you; don’t like it, find it unnecessarily invasive, then you can figure out how to get a job, rent an apartment, buy foods, see a doctor sans a chip when everywhere requires one. Sounds pretty close to the descriptions depicting the mark of the beast to me, unable to buy or sell goods, easily extrapolated own a business, absent a mark, chip, barcode on your hand or forehead, and to a plethora of others; digressing from the spiritual once more, whose response to reports about chip technology to be put inside persons as identification, medical record storage or the cool factor of opening doors at the wave of your hand is to say they would rather starve naked in the woods, live totally off any grid than be subject to that kind of control. Hardly difficult to see why when thinking a short time about it; compounding the perceived invasions of privacy, intrusions on free will we contend with today, try being confronted by your employer because you were tracked to a bar after work by your chip, ‘caught’ with a different girl every night of the week at which point they fired you despite being single. Have credit card debt, student loan debt you’re blocked out of buying that morning latte, any fast food, that outfit or dress never mind if it’s for a major event say a wedding, new clothing for work, cable or internet services, throwing out completely you may use one, perhaps both to get a job, seek a better, higher paying job, you have basic cable because over the air TV no longer works where you live and you still need news and weather, use that to write freelance materials, putting lines on your résumé toward paid work. Also you can forget that car loan, so much as funds to repair your old one being released to you, though its your money you worked hard for, independent your need for a car, vehicle to get to work, earn money to continue making payments on your debt. Welcome to wage garnishment to the nth degree in the 21st century and beyond; shouldn’t we all be proud? Sick, have a chronic medical condition say diabetes no more cake, ice cream, junk food, red meat, soda available for you, dido if you are obese; we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic, to that end no Easter, Halloween, valentines candy. Cake and ice-cream for your kid’s birthday, you still can’t have it; planning a summer barbecue, family reunion or other event with food, where you, yourself plan to eat almost none of the unhealthy things precisely because of your health status, condition, those realities don’t matter. Under this system no need to outlaw foods, vastly regulate the food industry, oh no, just regulate who gets access to what food generating a whole different type of class warfare. Struggle with alcohol addiction, suspected an alcoholic, forgo expensive, repetitively, ‘ineffective’ drug treatment, taxpayer dime funded rehab, merely block them from buying alcohol, history with pills: red flag their medical file to cut off pain medication, gambler prevent them from participating by locking funds, dispatching social, morality police to remove a gambler from an establishment specializing in same, restrict their internet access based on personal history with gambling sites, or the other popular ‘addiction’, porn viewing. Notice operative words in the previous list were suspected and addictions; reasonable proof not required to trigger government imposed freedom restrictions when 99% of the time the singular person hurt is one’s self. Lost entirely is chipping people, using that to control their every move doesn’t do anything to teach financial literacy, avoiding incurrence of debt, does nothing to make higher education more affordably accessible to curb student loans, make them easier to pay back. Microchipping the population nationally or globally, whichever comes first, does nothing to balance out income inequality secretly behind growing percentages of credit card debt, dwelling in subsidized housing, poor dietary and nutritional choices; it doesn’t eliminate the food dessert and limited options based on flagging neighborhoods let alone teach good exercise, dietary habits, impart sidewalks, bike lanes and pedestrian friendly spaces throughout afflicted neighborhoods, smaller cities, entice specialized doctors to come to high concertation disease areas providing the best care to individuals who need it most. Income inequality fostering chip criminality where swapping chips with someone who has a better credit score, chance of landing a better job becomes an unfortunate reality. Last but not least health wise, it stifles medical advancements in treating/curing diseases we may suddenly find had nothing to do with lifestyle habits after all, drinking, exercise, not exercising, exc., red meat, grease, obesity carrying more of a genetic component than we previously realized. Perpetuating new societal laziness, no need to keep reasonable track of your kids, be a neighborhood kind, watchful eye, just use GPS to track them; forensics investigation in a lost/missing child case, any criminal case truthfully, gone by the wayside. It slowly transforms into nothing except guilt by association, location; you were in the same place as criminals, a known criminal hang out at the same time as crime X you’re guilty, because forensics takes too long, is too expensive. DNA tests take time, are exorbitantly expensive to ‘waste’ held up to something thought fool proof so, if you can’t afford it, good luck proving you aren’t criminal number 7453 when criminals subsequently prefect chip swapping as a fast track way to get the law off their tail and a fresh start. All the information we could ever want is in your chip easier to fast track loans, better the denial of them, screen job applicants sans bothering with those pesky interviews, blacklist them from every employment sector either out of spiteful vindictiveness or highly subjective evaluations of their competence. You were seen where, tracked where via your chip, then you can no longer work for me, you said you were sick yet your chip tracked you to where, you’re fired; forget sick days are a standard classification of days off employees can take, are the default term used when they are not differentiated by category vacation, sick, leave times divvied into family, bereavement and others. Never mind you could have been in ‘dubious’ place X to pick up a friend, track down a troubled teen, seeking directions after a cellphone died or desperate for a bathroom, seeking help after an accident, emergency where your cellphone was lost or damaged. It’s less science fiction than you think and fast becoming plain science, distorted societal perceptions; dystopia dead ahead.
Juxtaposed against the strictly social RFID negatives are technological realities conveniently ignored; we’ve seen the hacking of POS (point of sale) machines where you swipe your credit, debit or store card when making a purchase effecting all the major retailers Home Depot to Target and back again, hacks of major banks JP Morgan Chase to name one, Yahoo’s data breach effecting up to a billion accounts worldwide. Devastating exactly what was affected user names, passwords, security questions meant to add safety, phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth happening just under 6 months ago, loudest in the growing white noise of hacks heard about becoming our new normal; previous breaches occurring at the CIA, pentagon pilfering workers, service members social security cards. We’ve seen the vulnerability, drawbacks of smart homes where the internet of things is alive and well, thieves can hack your internet router, home Wi-Fi/internet network and open doors/windows, turn lights on and off, change security codes subsequently robbing you blind without ever having to set one toe into your home, next to impossible to track. And just weeks ago we saw the ‘wannacry’ cyber-attack exploiting a known weakness in Microsoft operating systems software that went global putting at a standstill hospitals and surgeries in the UK, reaching as far away as Mongolia; worse Microsoft was aware of the vulnerability, had created a patch for it but many had not updated their computers. In fact we owe lessened effects in the US to 2 white hat (good guy) hackers who found an uncomplicated way to thwart the attack; over the course of this article’s creation are developing concerns popular Russian made anti-virus software Kaspersky running on a good section of US personal computers, business computer networks, sounding greater alarms government utilized PCs at the US bureau of prisons, select defense department agencies, could be a hidden national security threat requiring whole computer access to achieve the software’s touted protection, a would be tool for enhanced meddling, espionage above and beyond what has been authenticated pertaining to the 2016 election, business spying, intellectual property theft carried out by powers like China. On the subject of Russia, no need to go to the cumbersome trouble of hacking an election, leaking damming materials of the opposition the way they are thought to have tampered with America’s 2016 outcomes, tactics then tried again in France, no need to do what they did in their own country with political dissidents, pro-democracy supporters sudden victims of poisonings, mysterious heart attacks, one apparently thrown from a building. Just interfere with citizens chips, make sure they can’t travel, buy goods, conduct banking, operate at work, drive; because sans chip function they can’t access money, get on a plane, society removing superfluous items like physical ID, key fobs, old hat work badges, paper, cards representing money; quickly it’s the mayhem and martial law of Mexico, economically destitute Venezuela. It’s one of the biggest downsides to a lone central system though which everything flows DMV to medical records, employment, education, finances 9-1-1 operations, emergency response; if, logically when, it goes haywire, grinds to a halt impeding results are nothing short of chaos, why voting in America is purposefully decentralized. Russia had to ‘hack’ the election by means of fake news, misinformation, altered documents hinting at unpopular political stances and dirty politics because they couldn’t directly hack voting machines, yet another should be nail in RFID’s coffin; automatic voter registration moving through state legislatures is one thing stopping at putting you citizen X on a list of legal, eligible voters, placing registered voter info also on citizen chips patently dangerous to stack onto the expanding laundry list. Domestically substantiating long held fears regarding a cyber-attack on the computers, computer systems that control major networks like city, country electrical grids, water purification and supply facilities, 9-1-1 emergency centers, utility plants, any local nuclear operations, in addition to the foreign threats there’s the hacker who hacked into Dallas Texas tornado sirens and set them off in the middle of the night merely to prove he could do it, to alert officials to the ease with which he pulled it off, a hackers standard way of imploring city, state leaders to fix glaring problems. Giving us a sad glimpse into the future of smart cities, their crippling, possible epidemic starting, national shutdown vulnerabilities that can and will ultimately jeopardize lives if we don’t get smarter in both creating but maintaining technology running them, slated to run them when we discard traditional systems. Going down an impromptu list comprising known tech problems guaranteed to multiply malignantly in a chipped, RFID overflowing world, count the number of airport SNAFUs occurring during the last calendar year to date downing computers, grounding flights when something as simple as a tablet update for pilots failed, stranding would be flyers mimicking exactly what transpired memorial day weekend as more people took to either the roads or the skies than had in a decade. Right up there with those headaches we’ve seen when purportedly smart, next generation technology fails spectacularly; the smart dumb fridge that reboots in demo mode after a power outage with the cooling compressor off, result a fridge full of spoiled food, firmware updates to Blu-ray players and you can no longer access your Netflix, Hulu or YouTube accounts through it, Samsung who got into public hot water post stopping produced updates for one player after a measly 3 years. Microsoft made headlines and elicited collective American groans when they announced discontinuance of updates to popular system windows XP, terribly short sighted forgetting its global usage and said usages implications; outer reaches of Mongolia probably are still using it, developing world advancement and cheap software needed on the scale for whole city utilities, emergency services will undoubtedly mean being a couple generations behind the latest Microsoft, wide spread global office, business, record keeping product. Exponentially troubling too tech expert attitudes at home that, if we are running so called out of date tech hacks like ‘wannacy’ are our fault, we are contributing to a growingly devastating problem; oblivious to the reality lesser developed countries can’t upgrade major city systems, medical institutions, critical institution record keeping to windows 10, whatever’s next on a dime and shouldn’t have to. Impacting daily lives on an annoyance scale soon to wear thin with the public, self-checkout stations present in all major retailers spawning comedy sketch, upon comedy sketch, familiar refrains sounding ‘unexpected item in the bagging area,’ chiming ‘please wait for assistance’ sucking any times savings supposedly achieved out the window, and no end of kvetching from spanning generations of technology, non-technology users; younger people astounded by displayed ‘ignorance,’ older people don’t know how to use the scan gun, think they can pay with a check, never learned to use the scales for produce, the fact one Sam’s Club requires you buy 2 loaves of bread using a mirror image of one to determine kind/ brand, type. Slightly older persons, persons with a keener eye who recognize if you didn’t have to flip the item 5 ways to find the barcode, if you could simply slide the item and be done it would be easier, cashier worker or public citizen; who question why you need to use the scan gun versus the flat slide scanner choice depending on size, type of items, let alone why you have to ‘hang it up properly’ to print your receipt. Curious where on earth we were supposed to learn how to use the cashier scales or scan gun because watching the sales person has always been double checking prices went through correctly, coupons added, doling out bagging instructions; curiouser still, for all the mini TV’s mounted throughout stores hocking products, store cards, savings promotions, you’ll have yet to see one tutorial on how to use new self-check machines, but dwindling mass intelligence is the culprit. Machines continuing to be subject to card read errors, cash jams bigger than the price of that usual soda/bottled water, complicate using assistance cards, multiple cards say the quantity of gift cards given for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, absolute nightmare when it’s gradually our only option; Wal-Mart’s refusal to get onboard with apps like Apple Pay instead devising their own mobile payment friendly system with ‘decidedly old school’ QRC codes was the butt of tech jokes galore, throwing another wrench in their ‘would be perfect system enhanced greatly by computer chips in every consumer.’ Those inclined to think self-checkouts and variations on smart ATM’s slowly appearing in the US dominating other, predominately European countries, allowing you to do normal ATM activities added to paying major utility, cable/internet, phone/cellphone bills will be laughable old clunkers as recently as 10 years from now should calculate how long it took to get security chips in credit cards, updated POS machines, how quaint some small businesses are viewed for their lacking card reader and mobile payment options. On the flip side, fast forward a few short years and imagine a time, with the gung ho attitude toward RFID, when they aren’t hacking sales devices at stores, hacking hospitals and businesses with so called ransomware, but are actually hacking individuals’ RFID chips, forced to mass reconfigure hundreds to thousands of individual persons chips to get those flights finally moving. Because, contrary to their major current selling point, that imbedding it in several layers of skin makes it harder to hack, RFID is some of the easiest technology to either hack or clone, a system on the whole that is in no way secure, furthest from it actually. Utterly idiosyncratic to the CBS This Morning segment featuring a Swedish tech aficionado doing a presentation, he billed as educating the public on how RFID can help you as well as ways it can be used against you, holding parties where interested citizens can get chipped together, he frankly admitted the chips were insecure, advised not putting your life’s secrets on them. Except held up alongside listed wonders, being able to open everything from your car door to your formerly key-carded office with your hand, your life secrets are your credit cards, your social security number, computer passwords, online account passwords, e-mail to shopping, not just your hush, hush porn habit, kink fetish or diaper obsession, adult baby group membership, your purchases at an adult store. By the numbers, as it stands, identity theft is one of the most expensive threats to handle for the average person spawning security agencies like Life Lock pledging to spend up to a million dollars to resolve your case; holding that thought, put yourself in the position of trying to explain to officials at social security, your bank, the DMV, your doctor’s office your personal chip, residing inside you, has been hacked. The first few hundred cases would be scoffed at, laughed out of institutions, businesses and chalked up to people who didn’t understand how the new tech worked and therefore thought they could escape their bills, pull a fast one claiming to be hacked. To do this, not so incredible hacking, criminals, tech enthusiasts simply create a better skimmer identical to those used to skillfully scan/skim credit card data as you bump into unsuspecting marks in a store, restaurant, skillful skimmers very adept at slapping their own realistic device over ones at the grocery store while keeping you and the cashier dutifully distracted, attached to ATM’s again looking like the real thing so as you enter PIN information it can take you for all you’re worth. Almost guaranteed is they won’t have a mechanism, even with en-masse use, for when early version chips suddenly stop reading or otherwise malfunction locking you out of the ability to perform bank transactions, buy groceries, if technology protagonists and employers a-la Sweden have their way, report to work, be functional, productive once you get there. Magnets destroying technology like that found in your laptop, phone, tablet, or flash drive has been largely disproven outside the largest magnet on the world/country housed in a research facility, major university warning signs all along walls leading to it telling you to leave your smartphone, tablet, USB drive at the safety of a front desk, with attendant title X prior to entering portion such and such of the facility certainty on par with death and taxes there won’t be a contingency plan for when/if an individual’s personal RFID chip is wiped free of data, according to global systems you plainly cease to exist, they have no record of your birth, education, employment; reaching farther down the techno rabbit hole when discovered you are arrested on suspicion of a crime because the only people trying to blank out their chips are criminals, those trying to hide something. Shortest distance to a criminal getting a new chip/ID is to swap information with a same gendered person roughly identical height and build for good measure; then government, police believe you to be them and they get your good record. Industrious ones crafting an identity for themselves tailored to a job, apartment they want; following the barred from alcohol example above all because criminals will find a way around anything set up to deter them, simplicities as basic as 2 people having nearly identical numbered chips, operating on next to the same frequency off by a half a dial point, one decimal point number. But RFID chips could solve all of our problems, too many wish that were remotely true.
Neither, as quickly referenced above, is literally microchipping people medically sound; beyond car accidents, extreme sports causing chip migration that sets off a cascade of possible related health problems extrapolating short or long term into the future, i.e. considering wide spread usage, implantation a matter mandated by law. It is especially disconcerting trying to answer pertinent burning questions: at what age do they implant such a personal data chip, when a child’s hand is big enough to safely tolerate a chip, who determines that safety parameter? Are we looking at a situation where we can no longer practically educate our children on how the world works, how to go through a checkout, teach them money sense, financial literacy by simply letting them use allowance money, birthday dollars to pay for an item due to being too young for chips, chips not allotted to young people until they are 16 and old enough to work? More insidiously if they did microchip babies, toddlers the moment their hands were big enough to tolerate it, hold their chip in its proper place it would doubtlessly increase rates of chip failure and persons having to have more than one input in their lifetime; multiply the chances of chip migration to other parts of the body skyrocketing their potential for heart attacks, strokes, brain bleeds, blood clots, embolisms and aneurisms, serious and often times fatal, amputations when it catches in a major artery and fat or blood collects around it, person oblivious until it’s too late. Would a chip in an infant, toddler, child pre-puberty, the electrical impulses emanating from it interfere with natural development, regular brain electrical impulses, trigger early, so called precocious puberty being bombarded by electrical reading when out in public, prolonged exposure to electrical pulses could it stunt, alter brain growth? Once there is proof of chip migration, for whatever reason, how do you safely remove then replace it remembering it’s mandated by law; what are the risks of said removal procedure, since you are dealing with things roughly the size of a grain of rice is one of the potentially deadly medical complications a bubble in your vein also possible when injecting medicine, illegal drugs intravenously, nicking an artery or vein during attempted removal, suction used to try and extract an errant chip doing identical damage to said arteries, veins? Seems a pretty dire set of choices, near instantaneous death contrasted beside being a health ticking time bomb; less drastically contrary to the idea RFID can be engineered to supplant the Fitbit and Apple watch’s fitness health data collection, concepts behind it as next generation medical monitoring tracking blood pressure, heartrate, signs of everything for irregular heartbeats to stroke, heart attack or onset of diabetes, the soon to be circulated if not already internet meme ‘Fitbit saved my life,’ what happens when your chip inevitably malfunctions sending you scrambling to your doctor, an ER, erroneously dispatching ambulance services, for which you’ll doubtlessly be billed, oh. Touted safety also immediately assumes proper implantation, hardly a guarantee with something so new; in fact early implantations would be more comparable to backroom plastic surgery doctors using a spatula in lieu of surgical equipment, decades ago back alley abortion clinics, conditions of which were paramount in the arguments to legalize the procedure. Here discussing RFID, forget criminals, unscrupulous characters and the doubtlessly emerging black market selling new chips to individuals subverting the law and think for a second about citizens from the previous paragraph who had their chips hacked, were not believed therefore unable to get a government sanctioned replacement, forced onto the black market variety to work, feed their family, people who had only specific parts of their chips hacked say financial information, credit history driven to the black market to afford an apartment, buy a car; gambling with killing these so called ‘undesirable,’ bad life choice persons because of our own arrogance, arrogance of both tech zealots and government officials who think they have forever solved our deluge of security problems. Which brings us to exactly how many times do we have to see failures of medical devices placed in the body, vaginal mesh lawsuits, hernia mesh recalls to stint apparatuses supposed to prevent blood clots in the lungs that were horribly designed, patently unsafe and the testing corrupted, poorly formed hip replacements, heard about when there’s a class action level lawsuit, major law firm is on TV seeking plaintiffs, before we reduce their number, never mind stop advocating putting foreign objects inside you that have no medical purpose? Hip, common joint replacements top purveyors of metal toxicity a lesser but known phenomenon that can happen when joint replacements are left in past their projected number of years warranty; unanswered is if similar occurrences could transpire with an RFID implantation, a different kind of allergic reaction, adding up the projected number of chips put into a person roughly birth to death. What about people who show a significant sensitivity to electronics, radio waves, EM fields, low level radiation; largely treated as a hoax, psychosomatic anxiety problems Newsweek got it right last year, despite science’s rejection of the idea these people are still sick, still suffering various levels of reduced function, inability to work and live where they want to as opposed to where they are forced to, experience no lessening symptoms. Whether we want to believe it or not, whether we are particularly comfortable with it or not, what if they are the proverbial canary in the coal mine warning us things aren’t right, will get worse? What about the hundreds or thousands yearly struck by lightning able to completely destroy or disrupt a chip, the documented phenomenon upon being struck you exponentially increase your chances of it happening again because it changes the body’s chemistry, polarity to greater attract lightning in the future; a chip is decidedly unsafe and utterly ineffective for mentioned individuals. Ponder momentarily workplace accidents (think utility pole worker, chemical plant, electrical parts manufacture) where working around electrical currents, things that in an accident could electrocute you, change the chemical makeup, electrical signal of a RFID personal chip, potentially turn it toxic; another group who shouldn’t be chip identified for their own health? What could happen if the chip began attacking people; caused the electronic readers to attack people in some way harming their bodies mirroring the effects of radiation, mercury fillings, a different kind/level of metal toxicity, a whole range of new disorders either based on the chips themselves, taking into account their mass use? Electrical impulses emanating from the chip when read began interfering with the brain’s electrical impulses, the impulses dictating other organs, a few generations in made increasingly powerful to compensate for usage, combat conflicting, too similar signals getting crossed over, mixed up; think FM radio, dysfunctional digital TV singles absent the boosting of cable, abundance of satellite frequencies creating cosmic clog, how often the city bus, school buses and police scanners can be heard by each other but cut in and out when speaking to their own subset. Only happening inside your body, rendering them proverbially useless and potential cause for seizures, muscle ticks on the form of chip induced Tourette’s, electrical impulses in the heart spelling an irregular heartbeat, risk for sudden cardiac arrest (total stoppage of the heart) compromising previously perfectly healthy people; common sense says people who are diagnosed with the above, epilepsy, have a pace maker probably shouldn’t add in another electric device to their existing one, certainly not in the name of cool factor, convenience, ultimate government bureaucracy laziness, underlying mentioned control. Epileptics routinely triggered by bright lights, flickering strobe type lights staples during music concerts, stage shows; video game consoles reaching back 20 odd years or more, accompanied by specific games, categories of games have carried the potential for seizure warning. Speaking of people with disabilities, society appears growingly determined to exclude them, make their lives harder, oblivious to the rigors they face daily doing normal activities most take for granted; how difficult it is to bank, buy things, travel through an airport when you can’t wave your arm well in front of a scanner or hold your head up well for a forehead barcode scanner due to advanced Parkinson’s MS, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, results of an accident rendering you quadriplegic. Forced to sacrifice what little independence, dignity they possess, shouldering a financial burden utilizing a care attendant to bag their groceries at the store because electronic check outs and a fully chipped society have removed actual people from said venues cutting down on business operating costs. Often too readily dismissed gaps between cutting edge medical marvels helping children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, those newly diagnosed with degenerative, progressive diseases, chronic ailments and individuals who were born with their condition and have dealt with the effects 20, 30 years, people who, according to studied medical data on treatment X, will receive little or no benefit due to the stage of their disease, underlying wear and tear, secondary problems of say cerebral palsy on muscle and bone, prior surgeries to correct deformities, aid in walking, limb function. People who will thus still require, continue using assistive services, adaptive technologies evolving and continuing to be made; a plethora of reaching grabbing tools for people with varied physical disabilities, automatic door openers on public places, specialized easy open door handles for home, transfer apparatuses for showers, the computer generated voice computer set up used by Steven Hawking, those afflicted by debilitating degenerative conditions. Developmentally delayed Americans, frightening rises in rates of neurological disorders on par with autism and its spectrum of disorders, behavioral manifestations need a whole different set of assistance tools, long term care well into adulthood; here are people who may need to hold a paper bus pass, bus pass punch card to understand it, apps like Autismate facilitating communication among the non-verbal garner such success with featured case Joe because they use video of the actual person performing the desired task, doing the selected activity compensating for spectrum disorder persons’ lacking imagination, easing frustrations decoding symbols for tasks, activities they don’t comprehend. Understanding, comprehension an advocacy point pushing past a quark board, set of refrigerator magnets has never been hacked for keeping intact the United States postal service, paper bill statements, mortgage and insurance policy statements sent to senior citizens, remaining an option for older Americans who don’t possess computer skills or good ones, who can’t afford internet, computer and printer, combat age related limited mobility to frequent the local library, senior center to conduct such business, print paper copies of bills, banking statements; this happened with my grandmother and her house insurance or life insurance policy one, they usually sent a quarterly statement or something while still expecting monthly payments. And my mother promptly explained upon helping with her mail that my grandmother was in her 80’s and forgot that had they sent her a monthly bill, she happily would have paid it; managing ones finances a huge component apart from physical health allowing the en mass chunk of baby boomer retirees, approaching centenarians to stay in their homes, cost society and government services less money, conveniently enough, relevant too when noting the sheer number of legal notices that must be transmitted in writing, via a more formal correspondence than e-mail. Marketed emergency service assistant devices Lifeline, Life Alert and so forth for seniors, the disabled are operated through land line phone services and a watch type apparatus on the wrist or necklace, certain varieties a help button in common fall areas e.g. the bathroom; exponentially a better system than maybe accurate chip reactions dispatching emergency services to your house in the middle of the night, charging into your home with an entry code versus standard key to find nothing wrong. Skipping the step present in the systems used today where, when the button is pressed an operator comes on and asks if the person needs help, should the person be unable to speak coherently or signs of distress are detected appropriate help is sent, but if the button was bumped, someone rolled over on the necklace while sleeping they say so, system is reset by operator no wasted expense exerted, no diverting limited resources to non-emergencies, false alarms. Seniors and older persons among the first category to still be unnerved by, flatly resist, refuse the idea of putting a computer, a chip inside your body particularly for the purposes listed; very young, very old people the first to have adverse reactions to medications, medical procedures, show signs of allergy to lotions, creams, soaps, bath bubbles, exactly who we shouldn’t be trying RFID out on, reviving thoughts of death panels when it came to healthcare coverage, allegations entities are trying to kill off older populations, something else we don’t need. Translating to we’ll be running 2 systems simultaneously for decades if chipping does go mainstream; begging the question, if we have to do that, why do it at all. Seeing tech fads fade in and out the way we have over the years it too could go the way of the 8-track bypassed for something less controversial, more body and user friendly; we hope so, boy do we hope so.
Some may be quick to point out lines in the introduction about hardly believed in spiritual consequences, only speculated government control a speck on a still distant horizon of maybe, referencing common knowledge medical techniques, devices and call out hypocrite; highlighting no one is screaming mark of the beast about them ready to chalk that portion up to lunatic religious fanatics. While concurrently giving a short history of modern medicine resistance to new techniques Jehovah’s witnesses that think, to this day, a blood transfusion is the same as occult blood drinking mentioned in the bible, people who shuddered at the concept of organ transplants believing they desecrated the dead to finding it plain grotesque to have another person’s organs inside you, pro-life advocates who believe life begins at conception and wish those lives prior to reaching medically/scientifically determined fetus stage, zygote, gamete level be granted personhood, full rights of any citizen under the law, one must realize that pace makers, cochlear implants for the deaf, hearing impaired and hard of hearing, even the new technology implanted into a paralyzed man’s brain to use in conjunction with a standard computer is meant to restore functions. Pacemakers regulate the heart to beat normally allowing a person to live and not die, correct suffering arrhythmia that can stop the heart completely; cochlear implants bypass the damaged portion of the ear transmitting sound impulses to the brain allowing a form of hearing. Subcutaneous insulin pumps are primarily outside the body except for the tube dispensing insulin at select times, wearable glucose monitors routinely worn by type 1 diabetic kids, are adhered the skin again on the outside of the body preventing dangerous highs and lows especially while sleeping producing happy side effects of saving young lives still outdone by diabetic alert dogs increasingly common place and slated to take over, if we haven’t found a cure, better treatment in coming decades. Think pancreas islet cell replacement via stem cells stimulating the body to make its own insulin, the failure causing type 1diabetes. Remember the height of the embryonic stem cell research debate, science surpassed it by finding different places for essentially blank stem cells that could be converted to any cell, tissue, organ in the body, cord blood and resulting cord blood banks storing umbilical cord blood to name one; cancer treatment progressed to using chemo therapy, radiation to eradicate the cancer then take either bone marrow or stem cells for the persons own body, re-implanting them cancer free; lifesaving methods when transplants weren’t available, rare matches couldn’t be found. The circuit board-esque system the young man featured had attached to his brain A- was intended to bypass his damaged spinal cord allowing limited limb movement for basic tasks i.e. holding/grasping a spoon, swiping a credit card similar to advances in prosthetics; futuristic medical machinery to stop epilepsy or curb obesity are correcting malfunctions and dysfunctions all, not necessarily using computer chips or omni-trackable. B-none are engineered capable of self-awareness evolving into a Skynet like hell scape, are in no way sophisticated enough to supplant or override human thought, impulses, basic will; key too is it uses a person’s own thoughts, recognition of brain impulses to control the artificial limb, sent though the device rigging as opposed to the spinal column to achieve movement. A leg up from deep brain stimulation used to control Parkinson’s tremors, Tourette’s ticks, balance mood in major depressive patients who’ve tried everything else, offered in extreme cases for weight control of morbidly obese persons to staunch cravings, but absent any chance to influence a person’s cognitive ability, will, desire. Finally, C- represent stop gap technology until we can either generate an artificial spine, already in the research works, or totally organically progress stem cell treatment to completely repairing devastating spinal injury. Even the ‘real life’ limitless pill was not a computer chip rather a part of the vast supplement industry claiming their formula can boost memory, cognitive ability and thus IQ akin to the way students cramming for finals snort Adderall, ADHD medications minus the side effects, likely addiction, jury still out on whether or not it works to measurable degrees, isn’t producing a psychological placebo effect. That being said do we want one, a chip capable of self-awareness potential, do we want a chip whose end capabilities could be controlling someone remotely, turning them into a malleable robot beyond the suggestiveness of hypnosis, do we want aforementioned technology developed to such ends no laws safeguarding individuals everything from used as research guinea pigs testing variations on such ideas to being openly lied to about what having the chip means, implanted without your knowledge or consent? On the subject of limitless pills and budding enhancements raised by gene editing for major genetic centered disorders, the fluid notion of designer babies, electing their gender, potential to cherry pick personality, physical characteristics like athleticism, charisma sparking outrage now; sneaking up on us is the day where being plain old human, un-augmented, sans genetic enhancements makes you an odd ball, second class citizen, another fractured facet of class warfare where ‘normal’ kids are teased their parents couldn’t afford enhancements, had no imagination when giving their child boring, everyone else has them enhancements, adults who lost their augmentations due to faulty process, natural genetic mutation shut out of jobs, denied social interaction, social services, barred from having a family, children. Is that seriously the world we want for ourselves whether it’s RFID, gene editing or ‘supplements’? Further worries China’s CHRISPER gene editing technique is not singularly a slippery slope maybe we shouldn’t go down sizing up our finite understanding of human genetics, the human genome and how genes interact with each other, what gene editing even confined to curing disease and disorder could do to us long term as a species in the sense of either doing us, making us genetically weaker to less able to naturally change, adapt at the genetic level to fight of disease in the future; it’s the troubling unwanted mutations, unexpected results already seen in trials conducted. Returning briefly to the alcohol blocking example in paragraph 2, projected positives of stopping drunk driving, inebriated behavior that involves the police, not to mention health effects cirrhosis of the liver among several costly medical conditions associated with alcoholism, excessive drinking, rehab is still valuable in that it treats the core issues plaguing a person reducing chances they’ll end up hopping from one addiction to another. Combing known data and anecdotal evidence showing overwhelming percentages of alcoholics, alcohol abusers are self-medicating some form of mental illness, then the fix is better access to mental health services, de-stigmatization of seeking help for mental health issues, better diagnostics, medications and treatments for mental illness; recognizing also that up to 95% of hard, IV drug abusers addicted to drugs like heroine are indeed victims of abuse or the up to 90% have suffered some kind of trauma experience, substantiating long documented, proven correlations between childhood abuse, neglect, chronic stress and risky behaviors including drug use. So the fix would seem to be adjusting society to drastically cut down on the number of abuse cases, neglect cases and traumatic incidents a person suffers throughout their life; social actions that could curb instances of child abduction, pedophilia and a litany of dangers to children making it less life or death they be monitored so closely as to need GPS. Fostering income equality and economic opportunity beside life educational opportunity to keep pace with the ever morphing job market would be a long term larger fix to several kinds of criminal behavior, not the least of which identity theft, chip swapping for criminals under an RFID based system. Intertwined in that success are the reforms to criminal justice begged for today, ending racial profiling, targeting in policing, ending ‘war on drugs,’ ‘war on crime’ policies doing nothing to reduce crime and violence only serving to warehouse people in cages for life over one joint, 3 strikes laws applied to petty theft and bad check writing well under even $1,000 when they were initially meant for the most violent, heinous crimes alone. Reforms revamping local municipalities to where they have functional operating monies from city/state sales tax, the federal government, not dependent on traffic fines to fill city coffers, leveling bills at the poor who can’t pay and are jailed instead, courts open a reasonable number of days per week so that induvial can make their court appearances, public education initiatives letting find holders know they should appear in court, explain their situation and attempt to negotiate a payment plan not making things worse not showing up, bad judges, prosecutors, detectives, beat cops removed. Functional psychological and performance evaluations on each police academy cadet, rookie cop to veteran officer, weeding out persons who don’t have the personality, temperament, psychological capability to be effective officers clouded by racism trauma, anger management, stress management problems at any given time during their service, but stopping major issues before they start; this information linked into a national database available to all police departments seeking hires coupled with laws requiring viewing of personnel records before hire from other precincts, stopping the gypsy cop phenomenon cold. Sentencing, jails and alternative sentences toward what jail was always supposed to be in part, rehabilitation, helping defendant X solve his/her larger problem so he/she doesn’t have to resort to crime ever again; incorporating psychological and neurological examination of problem criminals in jail awaiting trial, awaiting sentencing, awaiting appeal, up for parole to check for minimal brain dysfunction, frontal lobe damage, high functioning autism, developmental delay severely impairing judgment. Part of their sentencing/rehabilitation program, treatment for any and all conditions found yet hitherto unnoticed, undiagnosed ADD/ADHD, dissociative identity disorder, hormonal imbalances, depression, bipolar disorder to learning difficulties—think dyslexia. People found to suffer mental illness, their crime partly resulting from that mental illness are then placed in an appropriate psychotic facility where every effort would be made to cure/manage their illness so that upon release back into society they possess new capacity to function, contribute, none of the common prison psych ward warehousing, funneling people to prisons when the psychiatric hospital shuts down. Gone charges under the awning because I can, you made me come out here and answer this nuisance call so I’m going to charge you with something, tacking on any charge prosecutors can think of because they intensely hate criminal X, have worked for years to ‘get their man.’ Relegated to the history museums, easily termed pet peeve laws about baggy pants, flip flops, thong underwear and see through clothing, including parking fines beyond those that genuinely obstruct traffic, block fire hydrants and present actual danger, certainly not to the degree they created a reality TV show around it, no putting ‘boots’ on people’s cars for non-payment, removed red light cameras known to be only revenue generators and rarely catch the true driver of the vehicle when they ran the light. Here’s how we finally make society better not electronic lockout codes on behavior, worries about augmented humans and mind control.