Everyware, All the Time.
Imagine a world where everything is hooked up to some kind of computing device, or server. That world is far in the future, right? Wrong. If you live in U-City, South Korea, the future is now. Imagine stores where everything you put in your shopping cart is automatically charged to your credit/debit card when you walk out the door with it. Imagine being able to find your keys by searching for their location with your laptop. In U-City (Ubiquitous City), a series of international corporations have brought together cutting edge technology to create their vision for our future. In a nutshell, ubiquitous computing is the concept of trying to integrate the world of physical things with the digital world. Here is a great article from RINF.com that sums up the whole deal.
For better or worse, these are the kinds of things that future generations will have to adapt to. Yeah, we have computers and webcams. Yeah, we have iPhones and Blackberries. But what about RFID Dust? Do you have any idea what that is? Radio Frequency Identity dust is made of tiny chips that can be scattered about to keep track of things (like you), or embedded in products to deter counterfeiting. I know, I know, it’s just future shock, but some of this stuff seems really intrusive. Like these video surveillance cameras with speakers for cops to shout at drunk people with.
It’s amazing how corporations are selling this stuff. This BBC piece shows how RFID implants (that’s chips surgically implanted under your skin) are being marketed as V.I.P accessories at a popular night club in Barcelona. The V.I.P’s get chipped, then they can pay for drinks without the horrible burden of swiping their credit cards. A wireless RFID reader automatically charges their account by bouncing a signal off the chip EMBEDDED IN THEIR ARMS. That’s hot, right?
I guess privacy, civil rights, and human dignity are commodities to be bought and sold. Now here’s a picture of a kitty!