When the Chips Are Down

The following TV report from Germany shares some interesting news about microchips that allegedly adhere to a person’s skin after a handshake and can theoretically be used track that person’s movements and transmit biometric data.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   Futurologist Oskar Villani, good evening. —Hello. Greetings.
00:05   It’s somewhat unusual that we greet each other with a handshake,
00:09   but in this case there’s a reason. Why? We hear that some politicians want
00:14   an implanted chip, but it is not necessary anymore, why?
00:18   Well, because it is outdated and a bygone “sour grapes” phase.
00:22   Just now, I put a few hundred microchips in your hand
00:27   which will stay for the next week to 14 days on your hand. —But my hand is empty.
00:31   Yes, you can’t see them. They’re very tiny, but if you look closely, you will see them.
00:37   They are a quarter of the thickness of a human hair. —We have a picture of it.
00:42   This is something completely new for me.
00:45   This is a human hair, and these are the chips that were on it.
00:49   Yes, that is the current state of development. They can be a bit smaller too.
00:53   What will you find out about me? —At the least,
00:58   I could issue you a number and I could track you around the globe.
01:03   I could also measure things like your blood pressure, blood sugar level,
01:07   and other biometric data. That’s possible.
01:11   I’m a very tidy person, what if I wash my hands very often? Won’t that remove the chips?
01:16   You would have to wash your hands for about fifteen minutes, that would do it.
01:21   However, with normal hand washing, there would still be enough left for a week (of surveillance).
01:26   One of your main research areas is technology assessment,
01:31   which means that you’re really concerned with how customers are already spied on.
01:37   You conducted an experiment yourself with women’s shoes. Please explain this to us.
01:42   Yes, everyone can do it, in one way or another.
01:46   Search any website, online store, search for something
01:51   in a place you normally would never visit. Repeat this two to three times and you will be followed
01:55   for the next month, for the next two to three months most certainly
02:00   by women’s shoes or whatever it may be.
02:04   Which is very difficult to escape. The actual question
02:08   I intended to ask today was when will our children
02:12   become half-robots with chips, being scanned or perhaps monitored?
02:17   However, reality seems to have overtaken us, because right now
02:21   it is already technically possible to monitor
02:24   people and even toddlers and babies. Smart diapers have been developed by a company that monitors
02:29   exactly how much liquid is discharged.
02:32   An intelligent baby bottle logs nutrition intake and then sends
02:36   recommendations and comparisons with other children to the parents via an app.
02:42   There’s even an electronic ankle bracelet for toddlers which has already been developed, etc., etc.
02:48   How will it be ten years from now? —From the technical possibilities,
02:53   in principle, it will be 24/7 monitoring. It doesn’t really matter
02:59   whether it’s a child or an adult. It is already possible.
03:04   In the future, it will be even more unnoticed, but recorded in more detail. Right now,
03:08   the nice part about it is that more and more people participate voluntarily.
03:12   Do you actually have to be afraid of things like ELGA,
03:15   customer cards, etc.? —I would put it this way:
03:22   you don’t have to be afraid of this technology per se,
03:27   but from what is made out of it by political dilettantism or greed.
03:36   Which means the technical progress isn’t keeping pace with protection against abuse.
03:41   It doesn’t keep pace with protection measures against abuse, that’s correct.
03:46   It also doesn’t keep pace, for quite some time now, on a spiritual, ethical level,
03:52   so to speak, compared to what is technically possible. —If you were to create a scenario like this,
03:58   what will our digital life look like in a few years? —That’s up to us.
04:04   It could be that technology might very well enrich our practical life.
04:10   Assisting and support us, as was the original intention from a humanistic point of view.
04:16   However, it can also lead us into a social catharsis.
04:24   That would mean, we always get what others think we want.
04:29   Individual development will no longer be possible.
04:33   The same way I just put the chips in your hand,
04:36   one won’t necessarily have to be an animal rights activist
04:40   to be monitored for the rest of your life.
04:43   Thank you very much, Mr. Villani, for coming to the studio,
04:46   even though this frightens me somewhat. —Hopefully it will not be that bad. Thank you very much.

7 thoughts on “When the Chips Are Down

  1. Certainly there will be technological counters to this and other similar methods of surveillance, such as a strong magnetic field or microwaves, but the impulse to track and monitor and control has no such counter.

    Since the implications for privacy and tyrannical abuse by the state or big tech are so dire, the best that can be hoped for is that a strong legal aversion to such surveillance takes root. It would be child’s play to turn this tech on the political and elite classes and catch them engaged in all manner of sexual perversions, or using illicit drugs, driving drunk, record them taking bribes and sexually harassing subordinates. It might lead to them being the loudest demanding legislation protecting such abuses of privacy when it is impossible to hide one’s sins once one is in public office. As a tool to use in the elimination of elites this tech could prove most invaluable. So while the elites and political classes might think this is a boon to their dreams of tyranny, it is in fact a double edged sword which might prove to be far sharper to them than to us.

    • On the other hand, Tthe elites can simply exempt themselves from legal consequences, as the US Congress essentially does now. In the direction we’re headed, the only consequences that will matter will be physical force.

  2. Maybe, just maybe those Inventors should think before they create.
    And by that I mean think hard about Politicians, past and present and what they’ve always done with inventions that “could” have some benefit to Humanity , and in a great nefarious way for them to cement their greed and power over others.
    Just sayin’…….

      • There’s that again.
        But I wasn’t actually thinking of the likes of a Fow Chi.
        More in the line of those that genuinely think that they do something GOOD.

        As my “sainted” Grandfather used to say about those hypocritical types;
        “He presumes to speak for Good/God, as do many that are wedded to Evil”

  3. If the microchips “will stay for the next week to 14 days on your hand” they will presumably also stay for that time on the shaker’s hand as well. The surveillance apparatus will need some method of sorting one from the other.

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