Just how far can we push communication technology is one of those questions that often blurs science-fact with science-fiction. I used to get excited with James Bond’s tracking system and car phone in an Aston Martin – now two-thirds of the planet has mobile phones, and every single one of them is personally identifiable and trackable. Not bad for 15 years when you think of it. So just how far have we gone?
A couple of years, ago I highlighted a few cool concepts around technology relating to “Human" target="_blank">click here Computer Interaction” which does indeed seem cool to most. Yet behind the concept of surface computing is the need to identify every product with a unique number stored on a microchip.
Now we have this relentless invasion of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) facilitating the “Internet of Things” otherwise known as Ubiquitous" target="_blank">click here Computing - and regular readers here will know some of my ethical challenges surrounding that. Way before I started my own blog, people were already discussing controlling devices by implanting" target="_blank">click here microchips in humans.
Well it seems as though whilst people are trying to tackle whether RFID really is the ‘mark of the beast’, I want to truly take this to the next level and highlight an interesting, if not alarming, discourse on the Ethical" target="_blank">click here Assessment of Implantable Brain Chips.
“Computer scientists predict that within the next twenty years neural interfaces will be designed that will not only increase the dynamic range of senses, but will also enhance memory and enable "cyberthink" — invisible communication with others.”
It’s known as brain-computer" target="_blank">click here interface" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-computer_interface"> (BCIclick here color="#0000ff">)" target="_blank">click here and is expected to be rolled out en masse by 2035. Let me walk you through this. Apparently three million of us already rely on some kind of artificial implants – to improve hearing or sight for example. Yet what we are talking about here is the linking of prosthetics with computer science through the miniaturization of components and then linked to radio communication. It is beyond the concept of “wearable" target="_blank">click here computers” that MIT has been kicking around for some years now; portable computers built into your clothes linked to glasses with video cameras, etc.
“Through miniaturization of components, systems have been generated that are wearable and nearly invisible, so that individuals, supported by a personal information structure, can move about and interact freely, as well as, through networking, share experiences with others. The wearable computer project envisions users accessing the Remembrance Agent of a large communally based data source.”
So the first aspect is that of “Wearable Computers”. Think of a spy-cam in your shirt pocket, linked to an iPhone and a pocket projector like Aaxa’s" target="_blank">click here P1 or 3M’s" target="_blank">click here Pico.
Next we need to link this to a Remembrance" target="_blank">click here Agent (RA) which is ‘a program which augments human memory by displaying a list of documents which might be relevant to the user's current context.’ It is a continuous information retrieval system running wirelessly over the internet, continuously without user intervention and unobtrusively ‘allowing a user to pursue or ignore the RA's suggestions as desired.’
What we end up with is this recently patented wearable computer that projects its display onto a nearby surface that’s being dubbed as the Internet’s “Sixth" target="_blank">click here Sense”.
The concept is just by looking at your boarding card; information about your flight can be projected on to it. Or pick up a book or product and find out more information about it. But this technology is not just limited to everyday things; “When you encounter someone at a party, the system projects a cloud of words on the person’s body to provide more information about him— his blog URL, the name of his company, his likes and interests.”
This means you will never forget someone’s name ever again; facial recognition software will not only tell you who but what, how and why. The ability to transfer information, contact details, community groups – even likes, dislikes or medical issues – without even uttering a single word. Think of it like a car license plate reader for every single human on the planet that pulls up an entire history of data about every product or person you wish to investigate. Suddenly that talking billboard in Minority Report seems so passé.
Now when you consider the fact that pharmaceutical manufacturers are already considering implementing microchips" target="_blank">click here inside every single prescription drug, which will then communicate to the internet via your mobile phone, implanted chips are no longer science-fiction but a present-day reality.
Combine these technologies, and what we find here is a two-way continuous transmission program intrinsically linked to everyday human behavior and our interaction with objects and each other; all being continually broadcast, monitored and modified.
"Suddenly technology has given us powers with which we can manipulate not only external reality — the physical world — but also, and much more portentously, ‘ourselves’. Once networked the result will be a collective consciousness, the hive mind. The hive mind...is about taking all these trillions of cells in our skulls that make individual consciousness and putting them together and arriving at a new kind of consciousness that transcends all the individuals."