Friday, June 27, 2008

Researchers develop neural implant that learns with the brain

Devices known as brain-machine interfaces could someday be used routinely to help paralyzed patients and amputees control prosthetic limbs with just their thoughts. Now, University of Florida researchers have taken the concept a step further, devising a way for computerized devices not only to translate brain signals into movement but also to evolve with the brain as it learns.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The cashless society

A cashless society is one that relies totally on electronic transactions.

The danger is when all these transactions can be traced via a central computer. The state can then track your every movement.

I came across this article from Money Magazine (a popular magazine in Australia about personal finance issues). Here is an excerpt:

While it sounds like a scene from The Jetsons, Dr Young researched the possibility of an implanted chip that could not only take care of your cash transactions, but also contain medical and other information that might be useful in times of emergency. (He surveyed 523 accountants with a 27 percent response rate and 13 per cent either "strongly agreed" or "agreed" that they'd accept an implantable chip.) Convenient, yes, but it brings up one of the biggest issues when it comes to a cashless society: identity.

"Cashless transactions are about documentation," says Dr Young. "They trace you to a particular time and place, and that information remains in place on various databases around the world. Consolidation of that information is a strong social control and privacy problem. I want convenience, but I don't necessarily want everything I do to be traced."

An implanted chip is just the thing that Alex Jones and other consipiracy theorists keep talking about. It seems like all the major media outlets are trying to warm people to this idea.

This would be catastrophic for individual liberty as it would give the state almost total control - because they could turn off your chip whenever they chose, rendering your ability to function in society non-existent.

Although it may not come to that - it is something to keep an eye on.