Human Chip Implants: Good Or Bad? ~ Party Political

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Human Chip Implants: Good Or Bad?

Could having a chip implanted somewhere in your body be a good thing? I think it might, if it does more than just track you and take away your privacy.

I've read that one prominent foresight specialist sees 2045 as being a year by which if you're not hooked up to technology somehow, you won't be able to comprehend the rapid changes that are going to take place. He doesn't just advocate something like logging onto the net every few hours. He means you've got to have some sort of implant that complements your biological intelligence.

By 2045, it is theorized, AI (artificial intelligence) will have reached the Technological Singularity. At that point, it will be inventing new technology faster than "regular" humans can have a hand in the process. So in order to understand what's going on, we'll all have to be part machine.

A chip in your brain that made you smarter and able to link up with other people and communicate without actually speaking could be a very powerful asset to an individual. However, let's focus on what a chip might do in the next couple of years.

I'd say early chip implants would have some basic functions, probably as outlined in the Book of Revelations. Your chip will identify you, track you, and allow (or prevent) you to buy things. It will essentially be a LoJack and credit card.

I personally dislike the prospect of 24-hour surveillance. On the other hand, if disaster strikes, and someone is kidnapped, a locator could be very helpful. But there will probably be ways to dampen the field and fool the computers into not knowing where that person is. So the "hacker-types" and G-men will be able to mask someone's location, but the general public will not, and will therefore be highly visible, all the time. Still sounds scary.

But if you forget about the "Big Brother" component, and focus solely on the commerce aspect, what you get is an interesting scenario. Plastic is already being touted as superior to cash, in ads like those for the Visa Check Card. In those commercials, people are seen swiping a card without signing anything or getting a receipt, rapidly speeding up the buying process, but also creating a lack of security and physical transaction records. Someone in a commercial like that could easily be using a stolen card. How is the clerk to know, when there is no way to verify that the person using the card actually owns it? If the card were implanted in their hand, however, that would be a different story.

If you had a tiny, flexible Visa Chip implanted on the back of your hand, you could easily swipe and pay with no fuss, and no worries that someone else will steal your card. If they cut off your hand to get your card, you'd likely first focus on your injury as the more severe problem.

So you swipe and pay, and don't get a receipt? If you trust the computer networks to maintain an accurate transaction record on your behalf, then you've got nothing to worry about. Sounds neat, right? Sure, until the Visa Chip becomes mandatory, and is renamed "Mark of the Beast." Then things get weird.

All in all, I am still highly doubtful about the benefits of microchips implanted in humans. But the fact that we're already using them to track pets leads me to believe that it won't be long before everyone gets to confront this issue in an up close and personal way.

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