(New York, 08-13-2011) — Major new science/technology advance: a thinner-than-a-human-hair, cellophane-like, nearly completely transparent, stretchable, flexible, computer-circuitry device that can be naturally “glued” to human skin by the Van der Waals Force — a natural, sort of “magnetic” force that exists between and at the level of atoms.
The story is all over the headlines. A decent article about it is in the UK’s online The Independent at this URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-computers-will-soon-get-under-our-skin-2336246.html
Certainly this technology offers great promise in medicine, military applications, merchandising — you name it. But, at the same time, in my view, this technology also brings with it the potential for — if misused — danger to our freedom on a very basic level.
Thus it disturbed me that the above-mentioned article, and various other such articles that I’ve seen over the past day or two about this new technological advance, mentioned nothing about how this development — especially when coupled with certain other such tech-advances — can possibly, and unforgivingly, usher us all into an age of darkness and controls that we’d strongly prefer to avoid.
Thus, for those who would like to view one non-chipped non-nanobotized human’s ruminations on this issue, I herewith post my updated, revised version, of what I’d posted in The Independent’s online comments-forum about this issue this past evening.
Please note: the following post conveys my opinion, based upon what I currently understand to be the facts of the matter and the potential issues involved. Apologies if I’ve inadvertently mis-stated a fact. Also, please do not try this at home without professional guidance. 😉 Oh, and also: this Blog & my comments here are Copyight 2011 by Protonius (i.e., me), all rights (for whatever they’re worth) reserved. ===============================================================================================================
1. “There goes the neighborhood!”
2. “You will be assimilated!”
3. “There is no escape!”
4. “Good Night — and Good Luck!”
The creations of science & technology can be employed as forces for tremendous good. And hopefully this new development, of this nearly invisible, flexible, attach-to-the-skin-by-atomic-forces, computer-circuitry, can deliver and lead to tremendously important advances in medicine and health, for starters.
But the problem is that such technological advances can also be used — and if the historical record is any example, and unless proper and effective safeguards are put into place — for purposes of tremendous evil.
Brain-implanted computerized electronic microchips, for example, are said to be a wonderful gift to persons suffering from certain types of Parkinson’s Disease: the implanted chip can reportedly nullify — depending upon the individual situation — the brain’s own faulty generation of shudder-producing signals to the muscles, such that the chip’s effect is to restore more or less of a “normal, tremors-free, life” to the affected person.
A leading (and controversial) company in the implantable microchip field, Verichip, has also promoted its implantable chip as providing a valuable means of tracking and locating any accidentally-wandering — and confused — nursing-home patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
But what about situations in which micro-miniaturized computer-circuitry chips are implanted into people not for medical purposes but for other purportedly “popular” or “entertainment” or “practical” reasons of the moment — such as:
–>> awarding the implantee “special guest status” at a hot nightclub: done!
–>> Or having one’s house, office, and appliances — all of which have been equally embedded with appropriate electronics — “recognize” and “welcome” and “respond to” the homeowner/executive with the implanted chip: done!
–>> Or what of situations in which “security” is at a premium, such that — as is reportedly the case at the office of the Attorney General of Mexico — it is a requirement that certain employees be “chipped” as a “security measure”, such that they won’t even be permitted to enter their offices (or be employed there) unless they are first “chipped”: done!
And what about the claims – debatable, but worth exploring – by some critics, that this “chipping” may also be going on in some cases clandestinely — e.g., allegedly without the subject’s knowledge or approval?
But be that as it may: perhaps this is “the tip of the iceberg”, especially when contrasted with the phenomenal advances that are now taking place in the field of Nanotechnology — and with how those advances, when tied together with related technologies (Think GPS, for instance) and the perceived — by whomever does the perceiving —“needs of the moment”.
While what previously was the more publicly-popularized image of an implantable microchip — the one that’s about the size of a grain of rice — how many members of the public are aware that the technology has already progressed to the point at which a certain type of microchip, designed for special purposes — such as for tracking a person by “blanketing” his or her clothing with these things, or by invisibly embedding these things in paper currency — could be produced en masse with each such microchip being as tiny a size as 0.05 mm x 0.05 mm — almost the dimensions of a speck of dust?
How would you pick those out of your hair, or your clothing, or your breakfast cereal, or your coffee, or your store-bought vitamin-pills, or your (Obamacare-mandated) medications, or your fiat dollar-bills, or, for that matter, anything — let alone know that they’re there?
Even some popular science journals have occasionally, and recently, been publishing stories — usually favorable to the idea — about how nanobots (e.g., micro-miniaturized, as small as red-blood corpuscles, maybe even smaller, robots) are now being designed that, once the technology and methodology is perfected, can be injected into an ill (or even a healthy) person, so that then these “armies” of specially-designed & controlled (by whom? and with what safeguards, I ask?) microminaturized machines can scout the person’s entire body and — from the inside — kill cancer cells, slice and dice invading bacteria, or tweak malfunctioning biological systems.
Or do something else?
The positive side of this theory sounds grand — except:
–>> Who — or what — is in control?
–>> What if, despite everyone’s best intentions, the system malfunctions?
–>> What if the system intentionally, whether by computer or human-design, damages, tortures, or kills the patient?
–>> What’s to prevent these negative things from happening, or to stop the companies that are designing them — or the people or non-human systems who are controlling them — from inadvertently or intentionally using these injected nanobots for absolutely horrendous, destructive, evil, purposes?
–>> Or, at the least, what’s to stop the whole process from being used to track, catalog, and ultimately, exert profoundly repressive control over, every aspect of the “nanobotized” person’s life?
This is not science fiction. The issues are real.
But let’s now add a broader context to this potential picture, to expand the perspective that appears to be coming ever more rapidly into view:
–>> Throw into the mix the conjoining of long-distance “facial recognition” technologies: exists!
–>> Global Positioning System tracking and observational capabilities: exists!
–>> X-ray and Millimeter-Wave and Iris-scanning systems: exists!
–>> Set specially-equipped unmarked vans to roam your streets and to surreptitiously and invisibly project beams of X-rays at just about every vehicle or pedestrian within range, to image any possible “threats”, and do all this under the cloak of “security: exists!
Unify and operate all these technologies and systems, such that they will be employed to scan, identify, categorize, track, and control you (and just about everyone else) almost wherever you go.
Now add Voiceprint technologies, and Biosensors — perhaps in the form of the new cellophane-like, almost invisible, flexible, “stick-on” microcircuitry, or in the form of injected (or ingested?) nanobots, or in the form of hundreds or even thousands of dust-like nanochips adhering to your clothing or embedded — from the factory — in any of your belongings — to allow for someone, or some agency, to detect and transmit detailed real-time data about your location, your identity, and your physiological makeup.
Then throw into this mixture — already something of a paranoiac’s dream, but with some justification — the ever-increasingly ubiquitous “automated live-feed cameras” that are being put into place by and under the control of “the powers-that-be” in an ever-broadening swath of public (and other) areas; add to this brew the targetable-high-resolution-focus capabilities of various orbital observation-satellites; and then ask yourself, when you happen to find yourself in a public space, these questions:
–>> Whose eyes — and what systems — may be watching you?
–>> And whose minds — or what system’s binary-based calculative processes — may, in accordance with motives of which you may be entirely unaware, be quietly making shadowed decisions as to your fate?
Finally, add to this little mystery the role of other such technologies and systems that might become attractive to some authority as providing yet another tool to help “safeguard” us.
And then explore, if you will, how all of these elements – especially if used as a unified whole – might possibly come to be utilized by:
–>> (a) a truly good, well-meaning, authority, who (or which) actually does make sure that there will be no harm to us from the use of those technologies; or:
–>> (b) a truly good, well-meaning authority, who (or which), just is not up-to the task of understanding the risks that these systems can bring, or:
–>> (c) an authority who, perhaps seeking to avert a different (perceived) danger, either doesn’t care so much about those risks, or, perhaps, will be only too pleased to intentionally activate the “dark side” of these technologies, either despite what that might mean for us or because of what that might mean for us.
So, whom do you want — whom do you trust truly has your good at heart — to have control over these things – particularly when these technological advances can impact so directly — and so profoundly — on your life and on the lives of those around you?
This “Van der Waals Force” “stick-on” computerized-circuitry, that the above-mentioned newspaper article touts as having, reportedly, such positive medical potential, interestingly mentions nothing of the potential downside of the equation.
Nor have I seen that downside addressed in similar “positive” online articles about this current technological “breakthrough”.
Please understand: I can see many positive potential uses of this new technology, and they should be pursued.
But, again, as I see it, it’s all a matter of point-of-view.
The positive potentials should certainly be explored. But what about the downsides, particularly in regard to what this technology could mean — if misapplied — in terms of personal privacy and personal rights?
As this technology and other related technologies progress , I suspect that we’ll likely increasingly find ourselves being presented with news-reports all about the “wonderful” positive applications (even if the “positive” side is valid) of these technologies – but, I wonder, to what degree will the bulk of those stories manage to exclude any mention or reasonable analysis of the potential dangers that may be inherent in these new technologies?
If placed into “the wrong hands”, where may these technologies lead us?
I also wonder:
To what degree will the major media, and to what degree will those forces who want to propagandize us all into accepting being “chipped” or “computer-filmized” or “nanobotized”, concern themselves with first alerting us to the need to establish effective safeguards against the abuse that the employment of these technologies might pose to our fundamental rights?
To what degree will we, the public, be given — or take — the opportunity to develop and put into place those safeguards – safeguards that, in my view, must be considered, so that we can at least make a determined effort to prevent any of the negative effects of these technologies from intruding into our lives?
Or, might the application of these technologies be inadvertently allowed — or intentionally impelled — to proceed at full pace, without those safeguards having first been put into place?
Could it be that, if we ignore these issues, we might one find that we’ve been stealthily, cleverly, and successfully, maneuvered, by these technologies and/or by whomever/whatever controls them, to a point at which, for us, “Resistance is futile”?
As, I propose, should we all.
— Protonius (08-13-2011)