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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fiction Becomes Reality

In still another example of science fiction becoming fact, an HP inventor has come up with something called a Memory Spot. A very powerful chip with a transmitter that can be read by your cell phone or other readers. They innocuously suggest putting it in a photograph to make it talk to you. The article also mentions using it for other terrific things I support. Audio and or video samples on the outside of CD/DVD packages to give you samples. Resumes embedded on business cards. That sort of thing. All good so far.

Stretch your imagination a bit now. If you don't think letting NSA tap your phones is a bad thing, then you certainly won't mind if you are implanted at birth with a memory spot so you can be found anyplace you are. That'd be terrific if you were lost while spelunking, or your lifeboat drifted off from the pack. But stay out of places where rival opinions are discussed if you want to keep off the watch list. It all depends, of course, on who is in power. Today's squeaky clean republican could be tomorrows possible terrorist. It's all in the definition of who's in power, isn't it?

Having been photographed and labeled during an anti Vietnam war rally in 1968, only to have that information flashed back at me in a dispute over teaching performance (in a catholic school no less) two years later taught me to be careful what you say to whom and where you say it. So this doesn't strike me a being too alarmist at all. I've been a victim of the low tech example. Watch it come up as a tag-on item in some legislation like stem cell research. It doesn't matter what side you're on or who you vote for. Power swings back and forth in this country. That is until the government gets the power/technology to prevent it from swinging anymore. Electronic monitoring and blackmail being powerful enough to accomplish that. Remember the black lists by the McCarthy types in the 50's. No? Too Young? Read about it here.

Maybe this new technology will only serve to annoy us with advertising. You and your chip passing in front of a scanner billboard that flashes personalized ads at you based on your known preferences and purchases. I know I saw something like that in a sci fi movie but can't recall which one. It's not at all impossible or unlikely given what the American commercial tendency is today. That's obnoxious enough but we are so heading right there. Think of how embarrassing if yo recently bought something like, oh, a sex toy and a billboard on the street flashed you and ad for even more coital wonders as you walked past. If it didn't use your name you might get by with some sort of diversionary move like when you let a fart slip in public. You know, like holding your nose and pointing to somebody else.

Totally spontaneous unedited lyric:

Memory Spot

Memory spot, memory spot
Shows the Gov'ment everything you got

I've been implanted and scanned
I'm known by the Man
To be a vegetarian
A real contrarian

He can read my chip
So I best not slip
Attend an opposition rally
Appear on the wrong tally

I got a memory spot
It's worse than crotch rot
Labels me socially sick
And I can't scratch it in public
Memory spot, memory spot
Shows the Gov'ment everything you got

I SO don't want to be writing protest songs. You think I'm missing anything here? What other uses can you dream up for the Memory spot?

I much rather see some Star Trek tech like that the Transporter Beam, the Tricorder and that cool microwave thing where you just punch in any meal and it delivers. But I need the no fat version. I don't care if Flabby is in.

posted by Bud @ 8:05 AM

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