Technology Saving Lives

I was just reading an article on a new automotive feature that will eventually be available throughout the Ford fleet. This technology suite incorporates sensors and software to continuously scan the roadway, “see” speed limit signs, and reduce vehicle velocity in accordance. The car will actually decelerate of its own volition in compliance with posted signage. Here’s a graphic depicting this surely coveted functionality.

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That’s very convenient. Particularly so while in the midst of passing another car on a two lane road. Though with the grill of a semi about to join you in the cabin, there’s the rest of your life to contemplate that issue. And however appealing that image, I can’t escape the suspicion that developing cars which override driver input is just the sort of technological advancement society hasn’t been holding its breath for. I mean if you only wanted to go 55mph you could just announce a free buffet of gentile body parts and then hop on Harvey Weinstein’s back in the rush to arrive early.

But with Ford reputedly in the business of aiding The Economy by selling cars, its difficult to imagine dozen deep rows of customers queuing to purchase one of these premature aging mobiles.

But I could be wrong

But I could be wrong

Regardless of Ford’s application, the technology does hold promise. If perhaps not necessarilly in recalcitrant cars. Instead I envision a more robust future for it in human embeddables. Here’s a few examples from the linked article.

Self-confessed cyborg Neil Harbisson is one of the most famous exponents of body modifications and has used technology to overcome the extreme form of colour blindness that has afflicted him since birth.

Harbisson is unable to see colour at all and so decided to implant a permanently attached antenna into his skull in 2004. The “Eyeborg,” as it is known, allows him to experience colours by translating them into sounds. An Internet connection also allows Harbisson to receive phone calls directly into his skull.

Consider my interest piqued. Perhaps instead of blandly automating the driving experience, a vehicle could simply beam reprimands directly into a driver’s skull.

No one’s around, just roll through this red light.
Only one more beer.
You’re driving through the ghetto, for God’s sake! You want to get us both killed?

Of course urban customers will value more authentic vehicle communiques.

Fuck da police!
Remember dawg, you got a dime of chronic under the seat.
If you was a white man you’d be talking to a Ferrari, for realz.

A number of companies around the world are now offering employees the opportunity of having computer chips implanted into their hands to help them in their place of work.

The radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip is inserted under the skin, following only a brief moment of pain, and can be put to various uses. Most often, the chip is used to unlock doors, providing a more secure solution than employee ID cards.

Others have placed an electronic business card on the chip, which can be accessed via a smartphone, or use the implant to access their car or computer.

What if, in a dystopian scenario, everyone was required to have this microchip (or just “mark” for short) on their hand in order to buy food or transact any exchange? Someone should write a book incorporating this idea into its breathless conclusion. I’d wager on brisk sales.

A Swedish company called Dangerous Things even allows you to buy a DIY chip implanting kit that means you can use the technology in whatever way you want.

Sticking with the DIY theme, biohacker Tim Cannon has developed a Fitbit style device that is implanted under the skin. The Circadia 1.0 is not the most elegant implant, clearly protruding from underneath Cannon’s skin, but it does offer some personal utility. The device can be connected to appliances in his home and is programmable via tablet. In fact, by monitoring various health metrics, the Circadia 1.0 can automatically provide Cannon with a helping hand.

There’s a bit of false modesty in the demurral above. I think you’ll find the Circadia 1.0 to be a quite elegant solution to the ageless question of how to nigg*r-rig a tablet into your forearm.

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I smell revenues. But I also smell opportunity. For this application can save more than merely the cost of speeding tickets. It can save lives. For whether one has an antenna or iPad protruding from the forehead, it’s the messages those disseminate that matter. For instance, if approaching a teen–or certainly a troop thereof–a pedestrian would be alerted to “cross the street now.” In theory, the system would work as follows.

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Though these ameliorative capabilities could be even further enhanced with seamless integration of predictive algorithms that might advise wearers “90% probability of youth conniption. Take immediate shelter.” And as much excitement as this “killer app” merits, it is tempered by the awareness of those it can no longer aid. If Michael Price were piloting a vehicle that resolutely refused to enter New Orleans’ sprawling mortal Black Zone, then he would not today have a widow and three fatherless children. But instead he drove an antique anti-racist model that was dumbly indifferent to his welfare. That’s what motivates our R and D efforts. We’re making products today for the Michael Prices of tomorrow.

And for the pearl clutching liberal Luddites, there is the flying car that will soar far above terrestrial racism into the moral vanity stratosphere. Testing (at high altitude) now underway.

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One thought on “Technology Saving Lives

  1. “mark” indeed. mark of the beast. every article cited is pre-programming/conditioning for the future. there is a book written about it: the bible. any wagers as to whether it is the company whose logo is an apple that has been bitten (think adam/eve) that develops the future embedded chip? mobile phone > phone on wrist > chip in wrist. the age we live in.

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