This is how the future will come to you.
Industry and the government will begin suggesting fingerprint scanners, retina scanners, RFID chips, and closed circuit cameras. After all, industry wants to know what you do with your time in order to sell you stuff, and the government wants to know what you do with your time for national security interests, or to fight crime, or for whatever reason you insert there.
Both industry and government are exercising self-preservation and self-propagation. If you are more enticed to buy because adverts are better targeted to your individual preference, industry preserves and increases itself through your dollars. If you are less inclined to speak out about the government, less inclined to think independently, and less inclined to flex your rights, governments preserves and increases itself through annexing your former freedoms.
Once you’re used to fingerprint scanners on your appliances and gadgets, retinal scanners at your bank and ATM, RFID chips in your credit card and keyfob, and closed circuit cameras in high-crime neighborhoods, you’ll see them popping up everywhere, even in places where there isn’t a clear reason for them. You will be watched constantly, though a disorganized collection of devices, few of which are connected together.
In the meantime, your computer hardware will be standardized along a set of guidelines, ostensibly to provide better security and stability. Operating systems will begin to run only on this secure hardware platform. Everything else will adapt or die. Eventually, new protocols will be adopted, so that any non-compliant device won’t connect to the network. Slowly but surely everything on the internet will gain a real, physical address. Privacy and anonymity will disappear, the chilling effects of which will ensure that free speech will also begin to disappear. This push will again come from vendors (who desire software/hardware locking), the government (who don’t like the idea of anyone being able to do anything), and parents (who want to easily be able to monitor what their children are doing without any actual effort).
One day you’ll wake up and notice that all these databases have been linked together. Suddenly, you are being watched by the industrial/governmental establishment, along with everyone else, and there is nothing you can do. Your RFID chips are being tracked, your eyes are being scanned, your fingerprints are being read, and your face is being analyzed. You wake up one day and realize you have a chip in your arm, a chip in your car, a chip in your wallet, and a chip in your computer, none of which is directly controlled by you, and all of which you cannot escape.
The scary thing is that no one person is responsible for this. You won’t see a total information agency trying to scan everyone and spy on everyone all the time. There will be all these separate data streams, and one day some legislature or agency will come along and merge them into one.
And it will all be done for your security, your safety, and your children.
Thing is, this isn’t a bad idea. Probably the last thing you thought you’d see coming from my blog, right?
If there’s no way to exempt anyone from it, if there are no powerful men that are “excused” from the program, if it’s truly universal and truly egalitarian, it could be a very good thing. It could be a combination of personal history and personal witness.
The only question is this: could any human ever design such a system?