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.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Peter Bjørn Perlsø said...

A cashless society is not feasible on anything but a small scale as things are today. If money/cash was no needed, it would not have been invented in teh first place.

Molecular assembles will during the next century allow a large degree of the human material needs to be fulfilled in a way that will be so cheap that cash transactions for them are unnecessary to anyone by either a miser or a control freak. However, as long as there are human abilities that are in demand, there will be need of trade and exchange, and as long as that takes place (as opposed to a gift society, which IMO is utopian), there most likely will also be need of currency.

However, I am in favor of commodity currencies - noble metals at the moment, and as we approach the singularity and post-singularty with obiquituous matter editation and matter/energy conversion, gold will likely be replaced with hydrogen and/or energy banks, as with these two things, you can make all material objects, and perform all materially desirable actions.

- p

3:32 AM  
Blogger Bartleby said...

[i]However, as long as there are human abilities that are in demand, there will be need of trade and exchange, and as long as that takes place (as opposed to a gift society, which IMO is utopian), there most likely will also be need of currency.[/i]

I'm not sure - you have got a lot of information/software out there that is basically free.

Some people don't do it for money they do it for their own satisfaction or to gain reputation. I see this now that people make websites that barely cover the cost of running them just because they want to.

With a molecular assembler all you do is feed information into it - the only thing that may cost is the raw materials.

The point is you get everything so cheap in terms of material resources so it's the same cost of breathing air.

So why would you charge people to use your product? The supply and demand model doesn't work because production cost is basically nil.

All you have is demand so try and graph that with zero supply costs and infinite demand, lol.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Peter Bjørn Perlsø said...

"I'm not sure - you have got a lot of information/software out there that is basically free."

Sure, but these things are intangible. Software is information. Information is states encoded on matter that is already in existence.

Material things you can't just conjure up of thin air, and as long as licing depends on material goods (food), you'll have need for that. (There are not unlimited amounts of material in the universe, and I'm not counting on hawking radiation to save us from taht fact.)

8:14 AM  
Blogger Bartleby said...

Actually I don't think it'll come down to matter, but computation, which is computing with atoms. So it still comes down to matter I guess.

The universe has a limit to computation but this ignores there may be multi-verses or something.

But anyway with that is going to be more than enough computation for us simple life forms.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Peter Bjørn Perlsø said...

Computation still requires matter, yes. And until we have a bit more hard proof of the multiverse and not just fancy conjecture, I'll refrain from stepping down that path.

Humans are with out wetware brains extremely poor at propositional logic, which is inherent to computation (but analogue brains have served us well nonetheless). Uploadign will change the rules, and change the objectives that intelligence imposes on the universe. To what, I'm not sure.

11:01 AM  

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