February 10, 2007

Supertooth and "Perversive" Technologies

supertooth.jpgSoon the tune "I've Got You Under My Skin" may be more than just a silly little love song.

Yesterday author Robert Fulghum said good-bye to his trusty old back molar and prepared to say hello to "a new solid gold and porcelain tooth on the titanium post - like threading a wing-nut on a screw. In addition, this week's special offer is the free installation of a tiny light that will turn on every time you open your mouth. The tooth also receives satellite radio signals and will have a built-in GPS locator. It comes with an FCC license. The materials are virtually indestructible." (Robert Fulghum)

Of course, I thought he was just making a humorous point about the increasing trend towards "perversive" technology in our time. Less than 30 seconds with one of the more pervasive and perversive technologies, Google, soon brought me to my senses.

As it turns out, a company in England dealing in "concepts", Auger-Loizeau, has been working up such an idea for the real world since October, 2000. Their vision is:

"The Audio Tooth Implant (ATI) is the first commodity based in-body product. Augmenting our body's communication skills it enables a form of telepathy.

A micro-vibration device and a wireless low frequency receiver are implanted in the tooth during routine dental surgery. The tooth communicates with an array of digital devices, such as mobile telephones, radio and computers. A dedicated device (also acts as the long-range receiver) is used to fully customise the set up for each individuals personal requirements."

Of course, as far as we know, this is still in the concept stage, but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see the uses for such a device in the areas of gambling, sending in instructions to a team during a game, getting up to the minute weather reports for commodity trading, espionage, and a host of other uses, wherever humans need to have an inside-info edge.

The Science Museum in London has picked up on Supertooth and has a short online exhibition looking at the science behind it and the future ahead of it.

But where implants are concerned, the future, as usual, is already here. Piggy-backing, as perversive technologies often do, on concern "for the children," the use of chips implanted in humans has already tried to take hold in many areas of daily life. In some, it has succeeded.

GPS locators in cell-phones are increasingly the default state. After all, who wouldn't want anybody else to know exactly where they are?

Amal Graafstra, who abhors keys, had himself "chipped." RFID chips were implanted in his left and right hands so he could control his car door, front door and log onto his computer by using his hands. His girlfriend, seeking access to his apartment and car, had herself chipped, too. (SacBee)
Isn't it romantic?

Chips in the body itself are, if not common, not unknown and are fodder for cop shows on television and, it turns out, the way the "cool kids" hang out at at least one night club in Barcelona:

Clubbers who want to join the scheme at Baja Beach Club in Barcelona pay 125 euros for the VeriChip -- about the size of a grain of rice -- to be implanted in their body. Then when they pass through a scanner the chip is activated and it emits a signal containing the individual's number, which is then transmitted to a secure data storage site. (CNN)

Of course, the big push towards Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) implants in the body will come, as it always does, from the child-safety lobbies and the companies that stand to profit from our society's continued fear of molesters and abductors. These are terrible crimes, but it is also the case that whenever a politician or a businessman says they are "doing it only for the children" it is usually a sign you are dealing with a scoundrel.

A big player in the implant business is Verichip whose slogan is "RFID for People," a phrase that can be read many ways. The web site's flash presentation runs through a series of bullet points that emphasize the positive benefits of RFID chips in many ways; that makes them out to be the silent sentinels of our lives. And all that may well be true, but they remain sentinels just the same. They remain someone else to watch over you. And that someone else is inside your body. A supertooth with signaling device or a grain of rice just under the skin. Hold still, this won't hurt a bit. Will it?

Posted by Vanderleun at February 10, 2007 5:34 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Egomaniacs with an inferiority complex, some are eventually destroyed by alcohol or drugs. Leaving a trail of pain and destruction in their wake. Thinking all the while if people would only do as I say, all would be well. When they get their way and things go bad, the trick is to blame those they hold sway over for doing it all wrong or point to some outside agency as the cause of their failure.

The alcoholic or drug addict sees the symptom of his disease as the cure, so the Communist/Socialist/Liberal/one worlder sees more of the same as the answer.

Posted by: Dennis at February 12, 2007 8:51 AM