(TNS) — The older I get, the more I feel like I’m turning into crazy kook from a dystopian movie.
You know who I mean: The hermit who’s holed up off the grid somewhere, cooking over a campfire, reading old paperbacks by the light of an oil lantern, and rocking out with my battery-powered cassette boom box.
The guy who’d rather stay in the past than live some ever-more-invasive, automated future.
I get this way every time I hear about some new technological advance that’s supposed to make things simpler for me but only ends up giving Big Brother more access to and control of my everyday life.
Today, it was reading about how more and more companies are looking to replace building access cards for employees with microchip implants.
I’m supposed to let my company install a piece of tracking technology under my skin just so I can get in and out of the building? I don’t think so, boss.
And I don’t care if you tell me that they’ll remove the chip when I leave the company. Like a lot of things that you try to delete from a computer or a phone, a little trace of it is going to remain behind.
No, the company doesn’t get to invade my actual personal body in exchange for a paycheck. It’s bad enough that they photograph me for my access card.
A court recently rebuffed an effort by a landlord in Chinatown to install a biometric entry system on his building. Tenants would have had to have their fingerprint scanned in order to enter.
I get that we need to have security, that we need to ensure that the only people who are in a building are those who belong there. But we can’t give up our civil liberties in order to do so. I have a right to be secure in my person.
But I don’t think there’s any stopping stuff like this from happening. Technological advances are just too tempting.
We could have debit card chips implanted in our fingers, and just swipe whenever we buy anything. No wallet, no money to carry. No PIN number to remember. Merchants would love that: Customers would lose all track of how much they’re spending.
Or what about having a phone chip implanted in our heads? That way we could really be hands-free when we drive. We could listen to music or podcasts too. And it’s not a big leap to think we could watch movies that way as well.
William Gibson wrote about tech like this in the novel “Neuromancer,” back in 1984. Chips that would allow software to be downloaded directly to our brains. How long before that fantasy becomes reality? Google Glasses are just the first, primitive attempts. They’ll figure it out.
We’re already used to giving all our privacy away. We have cell phones that can track our locations and every website we visit and every person we communicate with. That give service providers access to our most private details in perpetuity. We have Apple Watches that can tell you how many steps you took today, and what your heart rate was. That info could be used to deny health coverage to you in the future. Think about it.
We have Alexa and other artificial-intelligence “personal assistants” in our homes. They play our music. Turn our lights on and off. Turn the heat up. Keep track of our grocery list. And legions of workers at Amazon catalogue what they hear us say. And sometimes catch us at our most intimate moments. Skynet is indeed aware.
Never mind how people willingly give up their DNA to these ancestry research firms. You actually pay them to take the most vital of your vital stuff. They tell you what nationality you are, sure, but then sell your genetic matter to third parties, where it can be used for medical research and by law enforcement.
And we haven’t even gotten to the robots yet!
All in the name of increased leisure and convenience. And we’re all voluntarily signing up for it. It may be too late to go off the grid.
©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.