Much more than phones

July 14, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

We are being told so often to “put down our phones,” as mental health issues, quality of life, person to person communication, safety on the streets – keep your child away from those screens, we are warned so that they stand some sort of chance to learn their connection to the real world – spatial reality – reality at all as opposed to virtual, which is not real at all.

Anyway, like it or not, Rogers lost its bottle, as they say and crashed this week and serious pandemonium ensued. 911 was down, maps were off, interact was inactive and people died, got lost and could not pay for things. 

This could have been even worse than it was and I doubt that Rogers will ever have a complete picture of the damage a whole day’s “maintenance disruption” caused. Quite rightly, they are being raked over the coals by authorities for the damages done and the potential damages that could have happened.

Yet we have mainly ourselves to blame and a similar crash of Facebook recently, for the same sort of unnamed reason – some phantom “maintenance disruption” taught us nothing that we applied to future behaviour.

What about people who have devices inserted under their skin, to become part of their very beings? Ah, what a circus we have there. Thousands of people, in Sweden accept microchip implants to be inserted under their skin just above their thumbs which hold all their data and most personal information and allow them access to their homes, their business, to pay for tickets to concerts and virtually everything in their lives. These are the product of Swedish company Biohax International, a major provider of such devices. 

The implants are run by Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID).

The concern is firstly the safety of the chips themselves, whether they can deteriorate; risk of infection and use under a MRI,

The absolutely invasive nature of the chips, which touch the heart, the hand, the brain and in fact the rest of the body gives new meaning to the possibility of “biohacking.” Cyber scientists are left to worry about protecting “critical infrastructure and mitigating risks to the economy [or cause loss of life.]”

As the possibilities of microchip implants become increasingly evident businesses are looking at the huge benefits of the data collected by the microchips for replacing IDs in shops, hospitals, airports, etc. Regardless of established or planned new laws about privacy, microchips are new technology that will out-do data collection by your smart phone or other “smart” devices or “cloud storage.”

These nifty little chips, for all their supposed conveniences and short-cuts may well introduce risks so far unimagined and yet they constitute a next step to the addiction of being connected to the wider world, of the ease of walking through a door without delay. 

It has been my theory that one day, the internet will become so overloaded with human trivia – all those photos of lunch and puppies, all that repetitive philosophizing and commentary, all the lecturing and advice, all that whining, gossip, bad language, misinformation and negative leadership – that all will one day cause the internet to simply implode.

Impossible? Who would have expected Facebook to go down? Or Rogers? And, really without any explanation that includes specifics in both cases. Sure, they patched them both together but once failure is established, it is more likely to happen some more.

We have a long history of being the victims of our successes; we have a history of militarizing our inventions and we can be sure to follow all that history with the internet.

More to the point, at no point have we protected ourselves from the successes or the greed and irrationality of the military. There is little attempt to mitigate the dangers we create every time one of us invents something wonderful. 

Dynamite. Alfred Noble brought the chemicals together that created the most effective and efficient explosives known to that point in the mid-1800s, offering a tool for mining and road construction but pretty quickly it was perverted as a military aid. His own attitude to this additional use of his invention was to constrain its use as a deterrent and he balanced his own involvement in the development of weapons in the end by leaving in his will a legacy of money to support what became the Nobel Peace Prizes. 

These awards all are directed to those champions in their fields who have directed their talents toward the promotion of peace.

Our modern dynamite is the internet. Its explosiveness is at the root of how we run this world and the short-sightedness of that arrangement was demonstrated last week and last month when bits of it went down.

It really matters that we acknowledge that. It is imperative to understand the risks the internet carries and deal with them, harmful as they already are and more importantly deadly dangerous as they can become.

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