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Resistance is not futile? /Hugh
August 1, 2014 5:19 AM   Subscribe

I come from the future, and I’m here to tell you: transcending the limits of the flesh can be downright dull.

Push hard on my skin, and you’ll find... two lumps of glass, metal, and plastic embedded in my right hand: a years-old magnet in the ring finger and a newer NFC chip in my thumb webbing.
posted by modernnomad (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Much as I expected, but nice to have a summary of it.
posted by Harald74 at 6:13 AM on August 1


Like this, but permanent.

Also, I don't see the point. It's like the guy in one of the William Gibson books that gets a sub dermal wristwatch. His friend asks why he doesn't just wear a watch.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:15 AM on August 1


It's such a cool idea, but it does require that it not just be you doing it in order to actually be of any use. And nobody will get them until they're useful. And they won't be useful until everybody has them. And--okay, actually, I don't think it's that permanently circular. You just have to wait for everything to be keying to your phone, and then get something implanted instead. And then still carry around your phone, because you still need a screen... sigh. Someday. It'll all work out someday. God as my witness, I will never worry about losing my keys again!
posted by Sequence at 6:43 AM on August 1


This came up in the bag thread, about how for men at least carrying nothing can be a status signifier. If it was possible to exchange my key ring and wallet for an implanted chip in my finger, I'd do it in a minute, not so much as a status signifier as for the convenience and unencumberedness of carrying nothing.

Of course we are years and years away from this, and it'll probably end up being the worst of all worlds, where you need a Visa chip, a debit card chip, a public library card chip, a house front door chip, an office key chip, and so on embedded in long and bumpy lines up your arms, plus still needing backups for when one of them gets corrupted or the reader can't scan through your new jacket.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:53 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Also, would the chips set off the airport metal detectors? Because if the price of convenience is a periodic strip-search, I will have to stick with my existing low-tech.
posted by Mogur at 7:03 AM on August 1


Not to mention all tied into your identity, so that your movements can be tracked with even finer granularity than with CCTV or EZPass.
posted by indubitable at 7:05 AM on August 1


The CIO where I work has an RFID chip in his arm with his medical record number on it. He claims (jokingly, I assume) that Home Depot thinks he's a rake when he walks through the register.
posted by bondcliff at 7:10 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Also, would the chips set off the airport metal detectors? Because if the price of convenience is a periodic strip-search, I will have to stick with my existing low-tech.

Snopes thread on the topic: general agreement, enough metal of any kind will set off detectors. So most chips should be OK, because they don't contain that much metal.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on August 1


I was thinking about this yesterday.

If your cell phone stops working, you take it to the store or buy a new one. Could be fixed or replaced on your lunch break.

If your implanted phone breaks, you'll need some kind of surgery.

Maybe eventually that will be a lunch break thing too, but not any time soon.
posted by curious nu at 7:31 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I have a moto x, and Motorola has this clip thing that unlocks it (bypassing security code) via nfc.

I was thinking it would be cool to have that sort of thing in my hand, but then I realized that I could probably just get an iPhone with fingerprint scanner.
posted by subversiveasset at 8:35 AM on August 1


curious nu: Maybe, in the future, devices will attach to us and our bodies will act like the data bus?
posted by I-baLL at 8:37 AM on August 1


NFC feels like a decent technology for this, in the sense that it's multi-device and reprogrammable, i.e. it's not just a garage door opener. Keeping track of what you get your NFC thumb webbing to do over time might be quite an interesting project - it's the kind of data industrial designers love to have.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:45 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Snopes thread on the topic: general agreement, enough metal of any kind will set off detectors. So most chips should be OK, because they don't contain that much metal.

OTOH we mostly pass through the other kind of scanners these days, not the metal detectors. Do these things show up on those?
posted by yoink at 9:04 AM on August 1


Curious nu, I could see a well-thought-out interface (for example, a hollow watertight titanium screw in the bone knob behind the ear) into which components could be swapped. The case remains, even when the internals change, unless there's an upgrade so important that it both requires and is worth the effort of minor surgery.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 9:10 AM on August 1


Hmmm... Well, I've been a cyborg for just about 35 years. It was not my choice. It does work really, really well given the alternative, but I'd be fine if I could just hear like regular people. Cyborgitude isn't quite as fun when your hearing aid goes on the blink (to the tune of $600) because it got too humid for too long. Or when people won't speak up or clearly enough.
posted by Slothrop at 9:58 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Wrinkled Stumpskin: huh, that's not a bad solution, actually.
posted by curious nu at 6:05 PM on August 2


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