My editorials and opinions on the topic of...

Films from the Future

Films from the Future: The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi Movies by Andrew Maynard, Mango Press, 2018, 293 pp.

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Reviewed by Katina Michael

Films from the Future is an ambitious collection of well-organised reflections that attempts to explore the technology and morality of 12 science fiction movies. It is intriguing that author Andrew Maynard has chosen to take away significant learnings from cult classics such as Minority Report that would otherwise be considered as backdrops for a dystopian future.

I was once told by Brian Cantrell of the World Building Media Lab at USC that “dystopia was easy and utopia was really hard” [i]. Cantrell’s lab director is Minority Report’s Production Designer, Alex McDowell [ii] who has given many a talk about how stories can shape the future [iii]. So I questioned from the outset how Maynard’s book might well make us stop and think and ask questions like: “how can we learn from science fiction scenarios, and how can we do better without making the same mistakes in the real world”? In essence, what is the take away message from dystopia?

To an extent, some of the visions presented by films like Minority Report, have come true. In “Can we predict when and where a crime will take place?” BBC reporter Mark Smith, takes us on a brief introduction of the capabilities of software like PredPol, Palantir, and CrimeScan [iv] but cautions we are not there yet in terms of AI-based predictive policing. But we can already contrast this retrospective hot spot analysis capability with new forms of facial recognition software detecting persons in mass crowds as has been purportedly demonstrated in China [v], and even the hope to create a crime time machine [vi].

Maynard’s book which is written in a very accessible manner, almost conversational one might say, comes with excellent sources, providing evidence to content that would otherwise be challenged by some. Maynard uses peer-reviewed papers to support claims as one would expect from an academic and former columnist for Nature Nanotechnology, but unashamedly intermingles this with references to mainstream media. There is something to be said about this methodology by an expert communicator of science in general. The further one gets into the book, the more one trusts the insights of this author implicitly asking the same questions pre-emptively: “where is all this leading us?”.

What all of the science fiction movies that Maynard has purposely hand-picked for us to engage with have in common is conflict. It is not only that these movies are couched in suspense, and are thrillers, but that their contents challenge our personal values: plainly, what is important to every one of us. They take us out of our comfort zone and somehow reinforce all that is healthy about our world, and help us to see more clearly those things that are unhealthy. In the endless possibility of technological and scientific trajectories, the reader knows instinctively which are destructive. Death is the ultimate harm, the ultimate toll humans may have to face for their discoveries; only extinction of the species can be worse. But how can we make things better for our present and generations to come?

In some way, we attempt to resolve the conflicts presented to us by analysing what are the real threats as opposed to perceived threats, and we consider suitable strategies to prevent or resolve the conflict. Science fiction also has a way of challenging government-industrial complex “group think.” In That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis masterfully presents a new government-funded research facility at the fictional University of Edgestow, aptly named the “National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments” (N.I.C.E.) with questions surrounding the natural limits of innovation. It takes the youthful new recruit, Mark Studdock an ambitious sociologist, to save the world from the establishment and François Alcasan whose head was recovered by the N.I.C.E. after the French scientist was murdered, and has been kept alive by technology seemingly communicating with Macrobes [vii].

Somehow at the heart of sci-fi is returning power to the people who almost always regain control before things get completely out of hand. But we learn that our freedom comes at a cost. The reassuring aspect of Maynard’s work is that justice prevails, despite the ominous lurking of some technological beast that is waiting to be unleashed, beckoning for a movie sequel. Technology and its application- at least in the interim- are restored to useful practice and people marshal towards hopeful and sustainable futures.

The deeper one gets into Films from the Future, the more one questions why these 12 movies. What is so special about them? What unfolds is a narrative that builds one layer on top of the other, and a chronological thematic inquiry that reaches its climax in chapter 13 dedicated to Contact. Maynard takes us on a fantastical ride through time- from what looks to be about the beginning and the presence of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, to the potential for human cloning in Never Let Me Go, to artificial intelligence, the advent of bioprinting, human augmentation and genetic engineering, to an age of singularity in Transcendence, climate change and finally considering the vast expanse that is space. It is as if the Creation story plays out, and then a doomsday Apocalypse threatens, only for humans to search beyond earth and into the stars for their ultimate glory.

Some readers would have watched perhaps a few of the sci-fi films selected by Maynard like Ex Machina, but Films from the Future is also set to encourage a whole new following of lesser known movies like The Man in the White Suit that depicts the struggle between an innovator and the unintended consequences his innovation causes.

About the only thing I can be critical of Mango Press about is the absence of a few images that might well have been able to bring the book to life in a different way; and perhaps some select quotations from the featured films that may have been interweaved into Maynard’s narrative or noted in the margins. I admit I love direct quotes!

One thing for certain Maynard presents an excellent summation of the topics that will invariably always preoccupy humankind. Inherent in all of this book are issues of control and risk. Students in particular will be served well in interdisciplinary courses that interrogate the subject matter from a variety of lenses- social, technical, ethical, and legal. And the book provides a starting point for the study of the future. One of the best summaries I’ve come across. 

Reviewer: Katina Michael is a Professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. katina.michael@asu.edu

 

References

[i] Katina Michael interviews Brian Cantrell, May 22, 2016, “Makoko 2036”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SntGFlz7Ro [Accessed October 30, 2018].

[ii] Laura Cechanowicz, Brian Cantrell, and Alex McDowell, “World Building and the Future of Media: Makoko 2036”, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, December 2016, https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=7790997 [Accessed October 30, 2018].

[iii] Jamie Matroos, September 1, 2016, “Alex McDowell on telling stories that shape the future”, Design Indaba, http://www.designindaba.com/videos/conference-talks/alex-mcdowell-telling-stories-shape-future [Accessed October 30, 2018].

[iv] Mark Smith, October 30, 2018, “Can we predict when and where a crime will take place?”, BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46017239# [Accessed October 30, 2018].

[v] Paul Mozur, July 8, 2018, “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras”, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/china-surveillance-technology.html [Accessed October 30, 2018].

[vi] John Hollenhorst, September 28, 2017, “Crime time machines adds to security, privacy debate”, KSL.com, https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45975124&nid=148 [Accessed October 30, 2018].

[vii] C.S. Lewis, 1945 (repub. 2003), That Hideous Strength, Scribner, New York, 384pp.

Citation: Book Reviewer Katina Michael. 2018. “Films from the Future” by Andrew Maynard, Mangro Press, 2018. Accepted, pending publication in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.

In Memoriam: Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard (1953–2015)

 Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard

Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard

Professor Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard was a Philippine jurist specialising in computer law. In 2009 she attained the position of Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Southampton, in the United Kingdom researching a diverse range of topics including, comparative contract law, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property rights, European Union law, privacy, electronic commerce, cybersecurity, computer law, and data protection. Professor Kierkegaard was a lifelong learner who had vast knowledge with a strong multidisciplinary approach to her work. Remarkably, her breadth of knowledge never came at the expense of her depth of legal knowledge. 

Sylvia obtained her first academic degree, a Bachelor of Mass Communications (Journalism), in the early 1970s from the University of the Philippines and later studied at Stanford University where she completed her Masters in Asian Studies. In 2003, she duxed her class, attaining her Masters in European Union Business and Law at the University of Aarhus. In addition to living in the Philippines and Egypt (the two countries where her three children were born),the family  moved several times due to her husband’s work transfers. Living in Greece and Germany respectively, Sylvia was active as a born-again Christian Minister, serving the Lord and  reaching to others. In 1992, Sylvia and her husband, Allan Kierkegaard, decided to move the whole family back to Copenhagen, Denmark. Sylvia continued with her ministries whilst taking care of her three children.

It was in Copenhagen, that Sylvia felt she could well and truly re-enter the workforce full time as her children were older, and sincerely begin her career as an academic in the field she so loved. She began to publish articles on topical themes. She also participated in several conferences, at which time she realised there was a stark gap in the field. In 2006, Sylvia swiftly moved to establish the International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL) targeted  at lawyers and legal practitioners who had an interest in Information Technology Law. The association’s mission sought to promote the study and further research in Computer Law  through international engagement and conferences, the formation of transnational networks and networking events, the publication of members’ research, and the timely announcement of new job openings. In the same year that Sylvia formed IAITL, the first IAITL conference was held in Hamburg with great success. This was followed annually by conferences in  Copenhagen, Istanbul, New York, Beijing, Prague, Malta, Barcelona, Nicosia, Athens, Bangkok and Lisbon. These conferences were known for their high standard in paper submission and  service, as well as by loyal conference participation by delegates, year after year. For those of us who have had the good fortune to host, organise, and program large-scale events such as this, it usually is a one off thing, like building a house. Sylvia built many houses in her time,  had the ability to mobilise volunteers, and was a visionary. 

Sylvia was a deep thinker about the future for numerous reasons. First, she had children, and felt it a duty to provide ways for which legal framework solutions could be used to protect humans. She was incredibly “international” or “bloc” focused in her research having  understood the forces of globalisation so well from the perspective of a Danish resident and Philippine citizen. For instance, she could especially see how new technologies could impact people (e.g. women and children) and how the law needed to rapidly develop to face the challenges (e.g. cyberbullying). She also knew well the digital divide between countries in Asia and the rest of the world. 

Prof. Kierkegaard also liked to tackle looming problems and help bring some definition to them. She would often consider what was “the right thing to do”, and did not mind being faced with what others believed to be insurmountable barriers, challenges or impossibilities like catching out regulators for their lack of enforceability of given laws. To her there was no problem that was unresolvable. It just took hard work, perseverance and persistence. Sylvia needs to be remembered as a trailblazer, a first mover in the European Union, especially in relation to topics that were complex and highly significant to long-term stability of the human race. She was a fierce advocate of data protection, and in the protection of children, and that new technologies should not encroach on an individual’s right to privacy. This editorial is devoted to the celebration of her academic work while she made a seminal contribution at the University of Southampton, throughout Europe and internationally. 

I provide here a list of highlights between 2009 and 2013 as they demonstrate the breadth of the research Prof. Kierkegaard was engaged in:
• Keynote speaker at the 16th Eurasia Summit on Information and Communication Technologies
• Invited lecture on the “Present State and Future Developments in EU Data Privacy and Protection and Info-Network Security” at Technion Israel Institute of Technology
• Recipient of an EU grant to conduct a visualization and privacy study in Israel
• Speaker and panellist at the Ankara Bar Congress
• Speaker and moderator at the Workshop on IPR, INPR Court in Bangkok
• Keynote speaker at the Digital Agenda Assembly of the European Commission Department of Information Society and Media and the European Parliament
• Chair at the EU Workshop on Cultural Heritage, Private Law and IPR from a global and EU-China Perspective
• Keynote speaker on Cybercrime Prevention organised by the Internet Fraud Association, Australian Police and International Association of Cybercrime Prevention in Sydney
• Keynote speaker on “Copyright, Patent, and Trademark” for the Perth Judiciary conference
• Summer School chairman: organized by the University of Vienna Economics, University of Gottingen, University of Hamburg, and Utrecht University
• Chairman for the Conference in Public law, Private law, Trade law in Cyprus
• Chair and workshop in Turkish Cyprus for the Supreme Court on Regulating Cyberspace
• Various lectures at Beijing Normal University, Communication University of China and Renmin University
• Keynote speaker, World Congress of Forensics, Chongqing China
• Workshop chairman for CASS for the China Supreme Court, for Hong Kong University of China, and the University of Macau
• Panel chairman for Challenges in Cybersecurity - Risks, Strategies, and Confidence-Building workshop organised by the Free University of Berlin, the University of Hamburg, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in Geneva and the Federal Foreign Office Berlin
• Conference chairman and speaker, Cyberconference, Netherlands Antilles
• Speaker at the International Information Marketing Association Conference, Texas, USA
• Speaker at the Famagusta Law Conference in Turkish Cyprus
• Chairman, Hans Bredow-Max Planck Workshop on IP Law: “Regulating IPR”, Hamburg, Germany
• Speaker, panellist, ESF Strategic Workshop on Cybersecurity, Budapest, Hungary
• China IP Summer School Program in X’ian, Nanjing and Shanghai
• Keynote speaker, Cybercrime Conference, Brazil for ILA
• Chairman, speaker, IPL Conference, Barcelona, Spain
• Keynote speaker, Social Networking Workshop, Finland
• Chairman, co-Reach Workshop on IPR and ISP Liability, London, UK
• Chairman, co-Reach Workshop on IPR and Collective Society, Database, and Jurisdiction, Vienna
• Keynote speaker, EU Medforist Project under the auspices of Princess Sumaya of Jordan
• Keynote speaker and moderator,Workshop on Digital Convergence and Cyberlaw, Malaysian Centre of Regulatory Studies, Malaysia

• Keynote speaker, 5th Media Economics and City Development Conference, CUC, Beijing. Participation by over 50 mayors of China

• Co-Reach Workshop, CASS, Beijing
• Keynote speaker, First International Workshop on Transborder Commercial Law, University of South Africa and Nedbank
• Welcome speech, 4th Legal Security Privacy Conference and 3rd International Law and Trade Conference, Malta
• Panel with Interpol, EU Data Protection Commissioner and Eurojust regarding privacy issues under the 3rd Pillar, Brussels, Belgium
• Keynote speaker, The Ankara Bar Congress in Turkey
• Keynote speaker, International Information Management Association
• Panellist, Council of Europe, International E-Participation and Local Democracy Symposium, London
• Keynote speaker and panellist, Council of Europe, Madrid, Spain
• Welcome speech, 3rd IBLT Conference, New York, USA
• Welcome speech, 3rd LSPI Conference, Prague, Czech Republic September
• Keynote speaker, EU- China Joint Workshop Organised by the EU Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Information and Industry, Beijing, China

During the same time she was zipping across Europe, the US, the Middle East, Australasia and the Americas, somehow Sylvia was able to produce about 150 publications in 7 years. For anyone in the law, business or humanities,this is double or even triple the number of high-end outputs of what a typical A+ academic could produce. 

It was obvious to anyone on listening to Prof. Kierkegaard deliver a keynote or presentation, that she was not only an expert in her craft, but she could convey difficult concepts simply. Her formula was thus:
1. provide current examples of the subject matter at hand
2. illustrate visually with tangible examples and with visual queues (e.g. clipart) where possible
3. explain the relevance of the material in everyday life to various stakeholders
4. come in with heavy duty descriptions of laws, acts, codes, and regulations
5. consider exemptions to the general rule
6. consider the US and also federal and state legislative differences
7. identify case law examples
8. contextualise for the relevant audience (e.g. Australian cases and laws for a predominantly Australian audience)
9. describe how the EU is leading the way with new directives and compare with other nations
10. talk technology and technological issues and impacts on society
11. bring all the various aspects together with specific line by line Article identification; and
12. offer a bigger picture view all the while pointing to future challenges.

Prof. Kierkegaard loved to simplify thick legal speak and skillfully break it down into consumable chunks for her audience. She is one of the few people I know that could confidently deliver 75 Powerpoint slides in 60 minutes without demanding too much of her audience. Needless to say, Sylvia was a grand master in delivery. She was always well prepared with the unique ability to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together to offer cutting edge insights for all who were willing to listen. One could imagine her in full swing as a jurist as many of those qualities shone through during her time in academe. 

Sylvia was special; there was no doubt about that. She broke all the gender, academic and ethnic stereotypes: woman, wife, mother, self-confessed born-again spirit-filled Christian, multi-disciplinary scholar, Filipino and powerhouse leader, organiser, editor, innovator. I have tried to reflect on what made Sylvia so exceptional. No doubt,migrants feel privileged, for the greater part do not take for granted what they have, cherish the simple things in life, and are not boxed by the boundaries imposed on them by others, often over-achieving as a result. But there was something more to Sylvia. It was not just her cultural roots, her dynamic spirit of engagement, her passion for her craft- Sylvia had a sense of purpose and believed her work could make a difference, and could somehow see what others could not, years in advance. She also believed in the potential of every person that entered her path. 

Prof. Kierkegaard had a flair for engaging everyone she came into contact with: whether they were high court judges, ministers of data protection, European Union or industry lawyers, conference delegates, colleagues, students at Southampton University or simply members’ of the public. She loved people and she loved sharing. Sylvia was always ready to give a talk and always had something to contribute to a discussion in her field. She was vibrant, self-assured, meticulous and extraordinarily encyclopaedic. At the same time, she was willing to see your point of view, provide critical feedback and consider positions that were in deference to hers. The truth was however, you could seldom match it with Prof. Kierkegaard, but rather than feeling somewhat diminished after correspondence or face-to-face question time, you walked away feeling strengthened and encouraged.

Sylvia always made you feel important,that you could conquer the world, achieve anything if you put your mind to it, and that commitment should be placed in international causes that were meaningful to citizenry. In short, she believed all life was precious. She was always seemingly in a hurry to get things done, bring as many stakeholders together around a table as possible, travel to places where decisions and actions could be taken, and think about future issues before they became problematic in society. For Sylvia, there was no time like the present, geographic expanse was not a constraint, and she seldom wasted time putting her ideas into action.

To her name are many edited books with leading specialists, conferences hosted or chaired by her together with accompanying peer-reviewed proceedings, and many articles. The books alone which I have listed here are work enough for the average person over a lifetime of research, let alone 7 years:
• Laws and Practice: Critical Analysis and Legal Reasoning (ed., 2013)
• Contemporary Private Law (ed., 2012)

• Law, Governance and World Order (ed., 2012)
• Copyright Law in the Making – Chinese and European Perspectives (ed. With Willem Grosheide, 2012)
• Law Across Nations: Governance, Policy and Statutes (ed., 2011)
• Private Law: Rights, Duties and Conflicts (ed., 2010)
• Legal Discourse in Cyberlaw and Trade (ed., 2009)
• The Dynamics of Trade, Law and Economics (ed., 2008)
• Synergies and Conflicts in Cyberlaw (ed., 2008)
• Business, Law and Technology, Present and Emerging Trends (ed., 2008)
• International Law and Trade, Bridging the East-West Divide (ed., 2007)
• Cyberlaw, Security and Privacy (ed., 2007)
• Business, Law and Technology, Present and Emerging Trends (ed., vol. 1, 2006)
• Business, Law and Technology, Present and Emerging Trends (ed., vol. 2, 2006)
• Legal Privacy and Security Issues in Information Technology (ed., vol. 1, 2006)
• Legal Privacy and Security Issues in Information Technology (ed., vol. 2, 2006)

One considers how Prof. Kierkegaard could have been such a prolific publisher. Of course there must’ve been some significant sacrifices, but one could deduce that when she was not engaged in the classroom, or with her family, or with her local Church activities, or sleeping, she must’ve been at full throttle researching almost all the time into the early hours of the morning.

Before too long, Prof. Kierkegaard unsurprisingly was in very high demand, and this in a pre-Twitter, pre-ResearchGate, pre-Google Scholar world, where academic news travelled slower, though she heavily embraced online communications for knowledge sharing. She travelled to so many parts of the world to deliver talks, to collaborate, on invited visiting appointments
(e.g. China), as a legal consultant, as a government advisor (e.g. EU), and as an expert commentator to the media. One was always at a stretch to figure out how she did it all simultaneously. One day she could be in Lisbon, the next in Perth, China, and a few days later back corresponding, researching or working on a paper. For Sylvia her work was inseparable from her life’s journey. She also felt it her duty to educate those who perhaps did not have access to necessary expertise in institutions worldwide. As a Professor named in the Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in the UK, she also reached out far and wide, supervising a PhD candidate at the Communications University of China, and as an adjunct professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University among others. Her involvement was significant in the China market. 

She was also a fellow at the UN African Center for Cyberlaw and Cybercrime Prevention, consultant for the Data Protection SDN, BHD Malaysia and a member of the Advisory Board for
the World Council for Law Firms and Justice. She truly was an international citizen, while also contributing greatly to her neighbouring institutions, among them the London School of Economics as a policy expert on their Media Policy Project and was a member of the Policy and Scientific Committee of the European Privacy Association.

Dr Mohamed Chawki, Dr Katina Michael and the late Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard in Sydney at the Cybercrime Prevention Conference in 2011

There was no doubt about the inner power and strength she possessed. She was a fast mover, always had new ideas, and was constantly thinking about the pressing issues in the field that needed to be addressed. She told me once in person while we attended the Cybercrime Prevention Conference hosted by the Internet Fraud Association in 2011, “The secret to a long and illustrious career is to tackle the topics before anyone else does. Think on the pressing matters that need to be urgently addressed today, and don’t hesitate in seeking solutions. Most people steer away from controversy in research, but I tackle it head on. Someone has to do it.” She also advised me on my career progression: “Katina, choose topics that are little  researched, and that few hesitate to consider the implications of, in that way you can make a bigger contribution in a short time-frame. So long as your interests align, and you are passionate about your subject matter.” I remember that conference well, as I was still breastfeeding. My husband encouraged me to leave all three kids with him, drive to Sydney, and to meet Sylvia in person. I was not disappointed. The person I had been corresponding with for several years was real. I cherish those few hours we had together during a lunch break and her keynote. We spoke more about faith and motherhood than academia. She was more than an academic - she was a whole person, with a multiplicity of roles. This is what made Sylvia so magnetic. 

For Prof. Kierkegaard, researching the law was a calling, there was something sacred about her mission. And she was right at home whether on a panel with the top EU representatives, as a keynote at a conference, or talking to every day mothers and fathers, or communicating with minors. In fact, when I think of Sylvia, I remember a dynamic woman whom I could not keep up with. She was always speaking somewhere, always writing books, always editing journals, always acting on a committee for reviewing papers, and always engaging. I do not ever recall her saying ‘no’. She never tired of the correspondence; despite I imagine her email trove was significant. You always were made to feel special. Sylvia was instructive also and always shared her own papers unreservedly. She even sent me her  powerpoint presentation files, relevant to my own work. She mentored continuously. 

I came across Prof. Kierkegaard’s research at the beginning of 2009 when I was completing my major project on DNA and the Prüm Treaty while studying towards a Masters of Transnational Crime Prevention in the law faculty at the University of Wollongong. By then Sylvia had a well-established academic teaching and research portfolio and was near the pinnacle of her career. Sylvia sent me half a dozen papers, and helped me clarify my research topic so that it could offer some original contribution. Her support during this time was crucial to me. She was such an inspiration for working mothers who were trying to raise a family, and somehow juggle an academic career. In this regard, Sylvia would say that the little children should always come first, and refer to the special responsibility that working mothers had to the health of their  households. When I told her I was pregnant with my third child, she eradicated the doubts in my mind that “I could not continue to do it all.” In 2011, a year after I had given birth to my third child, Sylvia could see the enormous pressure I was under. She gave me the words of encouragement I needed, reassured me that all would be well. She was also very proud of her own children and their achievements and was just elated when her daughter Margaux became pregnant in 2013. She could not wait to become a grandmother, to spend time with her grandchild. She would also mention her beloved husband to me often, of being a godly man who encouraged her onward daily. 

Many of us would have suspected that something was wrong when our emails remained unanswered. Sylvia was known to reply to messages within at most a few days. She would never leave you hanging. Somehow she always made you feel important despite the humungous workload she always engaged in. At most if a few weeks had passed by, you would get an email with longer guidance than you expected and then somehow additional helpful thoughts given a recent visit Sylvia had completed or an important  discussion she had with an influential notable. On one occasion in 2013, Sylvia had told me she was not feeling well but did not make it sound at all too serious, rather that investigations had begun to find out what was wrong. She asked me to pray for her and said for a short time she would try cutting back on her commitments. It was the last time we had contact. 

It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of one of the most brilliant people I have personally known in my career. Sylvia was 62 years old. And she had so much more to do. 

I consider Sylvia would have heavily contributed to necessary changes that she long foresaw, such as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and passing of data breach notification laws. How she would have reacted today to the constant stream of business news such as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, the role of social media in Brexit (and more), to IOT-invasive tech like Wi-Fi enabled toys for kids, to smartphone tracking and telecommunications metadata laws, autonomous systems like driverless cars, and the impact of artificial intelligence in the field of law. She would have particularly had much to say on the mega data breaches of Target, Equifax, and online platforms like eBay. Suffice to say, Sylvia would have had more than an opinion, but she was among the first to begin the discussion more than fifteen years before its actuation. Prof. Kierkegaard was a major supporter of the Computer Security Law Review journal begun by editor in chief Steve Saxby, an exceptional pioneer in his own right. Together, Steve and Sylvia were able to draw a global community of specialists to cultivate a nuanced socio-legal response to technological innovation. Unsurprisingly, after many years of effort, CLSR has become the number 1 outlet for such discussions and is truly multidisciplinary bringing together scholars and practitioners from diverse fields. Sylvia’s professional service to the community also extended to several other publications for which she had primary involvement (see http://www.iaitl.org/): 

• Editor in Chief, Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology
• Editor in Chief, International Journal of Private Law
• Editor in Chief, International Journal of Public Law and Policy
• President and Chairman of the Board, International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL)

 

Sylvia was an authentic leader. She gave of her time, and people around her reciprocated with supporting her common vision. There are many examples of Sylvia’s mentorship, but if I named them here explicitly, I know that she would chastise me for disclosing things that, in her eyes, one did because they were “being human”. She shared in her successes, and lifted those people up around her. She was selfish when it came to carrying the load, and unselfish when it came to sharing the ‘glory’ with others. A model academic in my eyes, I am honoured to have called her my friend, albeit in the last 6 years of her life. I am sure that stories post this publication will surface, of examples of goodness, altruism, goodwill. Great people never die, they live on in our memories. And perhaps of all things, these are the achievements that matter. On our tombstone, the number of publications are not recorded, nor are the titles of “Professor” or “Chairman” or “Keynote Speaker”. We leave with just our name, our age, and the active reputation that precedes us in the number of years we had the opportunity to make a difference in this world we live in. Prof. Sylvia Kierkegaard, could say, on reflection, she did all she could in the time she had- she lived life to the max. She would likely tell us now, it is our turn to pick up where she left off, and continue on the fulfilment of her greater vision of  research on the implications of technology on the law. 

Above all, Sylvia valued relationships and people: her family and friends, colleagues and students. She was overjoyed by the effort of her own children in academia, Margaux in International Development and Management, Mikael an engineer specialising in innovation in industry, and Patrick a health informatics scholar. Sylvia, especially mentioned many times, Patrick’s contribution and co-authoring efforts in  joint work. Among my favourite papers that demonstrated Sylvia’s flair was one of her final publications printed in CLSR published in 2013 with son Patrick, titled: “Danger to public health: Medical devices, toxicity, virus and fraud”. Here she bravely took on some big names in industry holding them accountable to appropriate biomedical regulatory practices. 

Sylvia was larger than life, a force to be reckoned with, in the field of transnational law and the need for laws in the protection of people to assist in reducing the negative social implications
of technology. Sylvia’s voice was unique, and it will echo reverberations in decades to come. Such was the currency of her work. May you rest in peace Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard. Thank
you for your passion and dedication to the field, and for igniting so many of us to follow in your footsteps. Thank you for being kind, and for loving others as you did. You have been missed greatly already but not forgotten. May your memory be eternal.

Professor Katina Michael
Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University
of Wollongong, NSW, Australia 2522
katina@uow.edu.au
http://www.katinamichael.com

 

Note from Steve Saxby, Editor-in-Chief, CLSR

I would like to thank Sylvia’s family for giving their permission to publish this ‘Editorial: In Memoriam’. Thank you also to Katina, for her heartfelt tribute and analysis of the outstanding
life and career of Sylvia. She first made contact with me in 2005 when she began to publish incisive pieces in CLSR. I quickly established a friendship with her and she joined the ‘Correspondents Panel’ of what was then Computer Law and Security Report. Little did I know what a meteoric decision that was going to be both for me and for the journal. Sylvia began discussing the idea of an annual conference that would explore legal, security and privacy Issues in IT and subsequently private law, public law and the intersection between
economics and law. She thought it would be a great idea to link the IT law related events to CLSR, which would become publisher of the best papers and issue prizes for these.

As Katina has explained, we began in 2006 in Copenhagen and 12 conferences later concluded the series in Lisbon when Sylvia’s health began to fail. These conferences, as those who have taken part will recall, had a unique character and their success was entirely down to Sylvia and her family’s personal commitment to organising these events. No University could possibly have taken on the organisation and financial risk that was involved. Sylvia was simply unique and utterly committed. A very loyal group of participants developed and we all looked forward to the next conference waiting for Sylvia to tell us where it would be. What impressed me was the fact that the book of conference papers was always printed and ready for distribution upon registration. More journals emerged too from these conferences, all guided by Sylvia’s  expertise and abundant energy.

But it did not end there. After 20 or more years as founder and editor of CLSR, I had been successful of course in building it up, but looking back I can see that I had become  comfortable with the routine and where the journal had reached. I needed to understand that so much more could be achieved. Sylvia ignited me to look further and come up with a plan. In Vol. 25.1 of the January 2009 edition my Editorial ‘Ringing the changes – A quarter century of CLSR’ announced what had been happening – a “full scale review of the journal, its image, content and position in the field”.

That is why, as we celebrate 200 issues of CLSR and see just how successful the implementation of that vision has been, it is only right and proper to honour Sylvia in this way. I must have had more than 3000 emails from her over the 10 years of our collaboration. Numerous phone calls too. She did not hold back when she thought something needed to be done and I can still hear her voice encouraging me to get on with it. The results of her input live on in the memory and in the wide range of contributions she has made to the subject and
support for all those who knew her. This has been so well set out too by Katina. Thank you so much Sylvia. We had a great time.

Steve Saxby
s.j.saxby@soton.ac.uk

Citation: Katina Michael, 2018, Editorial: "In Memoriam: Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard (1953-2015)", Computer Law & Security Review, 34, pp. 671–676.

Socioethical Approaches to Robotics Development

 Source: http://echord.eu/exotrainer/

Source: http://echord.eu/exotrainer/

This special section of IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM) is a collaborative effort with IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (T&S) (the March 2018 issue). This means that members of each Society will gain electronic access to one another’s publications for this issue only. Please take the time to explore international author findings from each of the magazines and compare outcomes. While the RAM special section focuses on socioethical approaches to robotics development, t h e T&S special issue discusses more general robots and social implications. T&S, guest edited by Katina Michael, Diana Bowman, Meg Leta Jones, and Ramona Pringle, takes a broader view of the definition of robots, encapsulating a variety of systems, including anthropomorphized and industrial robots, drones, driverless cars, smart Internet-of-Things hub devices, and software bots.

Focus of the Joint Special

The aim of this joint special was to bring together diversity of thought in robotics from a variety of disciplines, and this has been achieved with specialists from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, psychology, and law working alongside mechanical, mechatronic, electrical, computer, and software engineers. The skill set in both specials is impressive in breadth and capacity for interdisciplinarity. These are the kinds of collaborations that need to be encouraged by government grant bodies, technical institutions, and corporations alike. It will not be long before internal review boards and ethics committees demand the role of an ethicist or sociologist in submitted project applications.

Public participation in the robotics development process is also vital but a much harder proposition to achieve before diffusion. At best, perceptions of consumers or employees can be harnessed at the proof of concept or trialability stages, but these are only representative. Unfortunately, the patent process is not inclusive of socioethical dilemmas [1]. A product or process is usually awarded a patent based on its inventiveness, without a pursuant discussion on the possible socioethical implications at the time the patent is filed [2].

The results of the joint special collectively indicate that there is, unsurprisingly, a major interest in the social and ethical dimensions of robotics development and application, but few studies published in the public domain that have incorporated socioethics. Historically, there are even fewer studies that we can point to that link social and ethical issues with intelligent machines [3] or robots, but for the greater part, the link of socioethics is embedded into the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) framework and applied to biologically related innovation (e.g., human genome) [4]. More recently, responsible research and innovation have been applied by researchers in the space of emerging technologies [5] to emphasize corporate social responsibility. And there is a growing number of philosophers who now study ethics and robotics [6].

We seem to be able to theorize on the possibilities through various forms of scenario planning, but very little empirical work to support the possibilities is conducted on prototypes or realworld operational robots. We envisage the domain of socioethics to boom in the coming years as we come to grips with new standards, policies, and laws related to the field of robotics at large. This is to take seriously the understanding that ethics is not devoid of societal context and different markets have relative values that are influenced by culture. Disparate social groups within the same society may also prioritize their actions based on their values in differing ways, and this may lead to conflicting worldviews. How do we innovate mindfully, given that the existence of a robot in a specific process has far-reaching impacts beyond the user? And can we imbue robots with ethics [7]?

Search the IEEE for the term socioethical or derivatives thereof, and you will not find much in terms of published research. In the field of engineering and information and communications technology, one is more likely to come across references to sociotechnical (systems) or socioeconomic (impacts) or sociocultural (implications) or sociolegal (cases) or simply broader ethical issues in the domain of study. Search more specifically for evidence that ethics has been considered in the end-to-end design lifecycle of a new process or product, and you will find even less proof that these practices exist.

This does not mean that socioethical issues are not being adequately addressed in robotics, but we are more preoccupied with the tensions between conception, deployment, first-mover advantage, and feedback loops than embedded ethics from the outset. Whether this has to do with more agile development approaches or trade secrets that won’t relinquish industry practices, this special is a call to raise awareness of the importance of socioethics as an integral part of any problem definition or feasibility study right through to operation and maintenance road maps of emerging technologies. Yet, evident even in the contributions of this special section, engineers of all types are mixed in their attitudes toward the effectiveness of the application of ethical frameworks, with some believing they are relevant at the beginning of a development lifecycle, and others arguing you cannot prejudge ethics. The following brief section introduces how the IEEE Standards Association is contributing to ethical considerations, an initiative led by the chair, Raja Chatila, with hundreds of contributions from all over the world, academicians and industry specialists from large and small boutique companies, and government and nongovernment participation.

Ethical Considerations of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems

 Source: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2014-01/11/content_31152067.htm

Source: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2014-01/11/content_31152067.htm

The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (A/IS) was launched in April of 2016 to move beyond the paranoia and the uncritical admiration regarding autonomous and intelligent technologies and illustrate that aligning technology development and use with ethical values will help advance innovation while diminishing fear in the process [8].

The goal of the IEEE Global Initiative is to incorporate ethical aspects of human well-being that may not be automatically considered in the current design and manufacture of A/IS technologies and reframe the notion of success so human progress can include the intentional prioritization of individual, community, and societal ethical values. The mission of the IEEE Global Initiative is to ensure that every stakeholder involved in the design and development of A/IS is educated, trained, and empowered to prioritize ethical considerations so that these technologies are advanced for the benefit of humanity.

The IEEE Global Initiative has two primary outputs, the creation and iteration of a body of work known as Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-Being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems [9] and the identification and recommendation of ideas for standards projects focused on prioritizing ethical considerations in A/IS. Currently, there are 11 approved standards working groups in the IEEE P7000 series.

A key distinction we also always make in our work is to point out that ethical considerations in and of themselves are not new for engineers, academics, and programmers. Codes of ethics have guided these professions for decades and provide seminal principles regarding safety and compliance that have provided, and still provide, critical guidance for technology design and production. Our goal is to provide an additional set of principles and standards to help any technologists not used to dealing with the new aspects of how A/IS can affect human agency and emotion. Like any new technology, A/IS simply brings new issues to deal with, and, in the case of systems or products directly interacting with humans, applied ethics or values-driven design are methodologies that help technologists evolve their ethical paradigm to address the algorithmic age.

Overview of Accepted Articles in the Special Section

Three articles were accepted for inclusion in the special section. The first article, by Amigoni and Schiaffonati, presents an ethical framework for experimental technologies with respect to robotics. The article takes the ethical framework proposed by van de Poel for experimental technologies and applies it to the case of robotics. Amigoni and Schiaffonati critically and somewhat controversially argue that explorative experiments can be conducted in robotics given the absence of proper theoretical backgrounds. The authors claim that we can only address ethical issues on the impacts of robots in society through real-world deployments. They utilize two examples in the domain of search and rescue, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge and the Fukushima Nuclear Emergency, to make their case.

The second article, by Villani et al., focuses on industrial robots to simplify work-related operational processes. The article highlights the benefits of measure, adapt, and teach (MATE) robots in care and service roles and provides an excellent discussion on observed socioethical implications. The ELSI framework and roboethics have been integrated more broadly into the development process of MATE robots used in the workplace. The authors state that technical requirements are not solely driven by the use cases but by other design recommendations stemming from the analysis of implications on ethics and social and legal issues related to the use of adaptive human–machine systems (i.e., MATE).

The third article, by Borenstein et al., uses a survey methodology to report on parental perspectives on the overtrust of pediatric health-care robots, specifically exoskeletons. This article is concerned with socioethical issues surrounding postdeployment of robotics in the personal health-care domain. A key finding in the study was that over 62% of respondents indicated they would typically or completely trust their child to handle risky situations with an exoskeleton.

While the guest editors decided to accept only three articles, these are indicative of various perspectives in theoretical or applied foundations (e.g., explorative experiments versus roboethics and ELSI and aspects of trust and risk), in context (e.g., search and rescue with respect to defense and emergency services versus industrial robots versus personal health-care robots), and end users (citizens, employees, patients, and consumers). 

References

1.  K. Michael, "Can good standards propel unethical technologies?", IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 6-9, 2016. 

2. What is a patent?, 2017, [online] Available: http://www.wipo.int/patents/en.

3. M. A. Boden, "Social implications of intelligent machines", Proc. 1978 Annu. Conf. (ACM ’78), pp. 746-752, 1978.

4. "The ELSI research program", 2017, [online] Available: https://www.genome.gov/10001618/the-elsi-research-program/.

5. N. McBride, B. Stahl, "Developing responsible research and innovation for robotics", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Ethics in Science Technology and Engineering, pp. 1-10, 2014.
View Article Full Text: PDF    (220KB)

6. R. Capurro, M. Nagenborg, Ethics and Robotics, Heidelberg, Germany:AKA G.m.b.H., 2009.

7. K. Miller, "Can we program ethics into AI?", IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 29-30, 2017.

8. "Ethically aligned design version 1 for public discussion", IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems., Dec. 2016, [online] Available: http://standards.ieee.org/develop/indconn/ec/ead_v1.pdf.

9. "Ethically aligned design version 2 for public discussion", IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, Dec. 2017, [online] Available: http://standards.ieee.org/develop/indconn/ec/ead_v2.pdf.

Keywords: Robots, Autonomous robots, Ethics, Social implications of technology, Bot (Internet)

Citation: Noel Sharkey, Aimee van Wynsberghe, John C. Havens, Katina Michael, IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, Vol: 25, No. 1, March 2018, pp. 26-28, DOI: 10.1109/MRA.2017.2787225.

Go Get Chipped - Part 2

Go “Get Chipped” A Brief Overview of Non-Medical Implants between 2013-2017 (Part 2)

 The original "Get Chipped" campaign by the Verichip company.

The original "Get Chipped" campaign by the Verichip company.

In Part 1 of “Go Get Chipped” we covered the inception of microchip implants for non-medical applications from 1997 to 2012 [1]. This period demonstrated the breadth of applications that implantables could be used for [2]. This was a time of intense novelty, early hype, a bit of magic for magic’s sake, and proposing a future that very few genuinely wished to engage with, save for severe sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, Tourette Syndrome, major depressive disorder (MDD), amputation, or quadriplegia [3]. Until then, few academics, some keen biohackers, and radical start-ups had taken the idea of “microchipping people for non-medical applications”(not just dogs and cats) seriously, but things were about to drastically change when some big brands got behind the broader concept of a paperless and cashless society.

Well known to most of us in the auto-ID industry were two IBM commercials produced in the mid-2000s that showed off radiofrequency identification (RFID) for “grab and go” shopping at a smart supermarket [4], and increased visibility in the supply chain [5]. In fact, the “cutesy” nature of these commercials were a step away from the original “shock and awe” of the Applied Digital Solutions VeriChip “Get Chipped” campaigns that were a response to national security (i.e., 9/11) and America’s healthcare crisis [6]. IBM instead evoked a “look how cool and fun this new tech can be — join us” kind of sentiment with their very slick and somewhat mischievous marketing approach.

In 2007, MG Michael delivered an invited talk at Terra Incognita in Montreal, Canada [7], where he showed these IBM clips as part of his uberveillance delivery, and the response was quite unexpected. At the conclusion of the meeting, this presentation was highlighted in the presence of the delegates as one of the responses contra the top heavy surveillance keynote that had been delivered earlier in the week by the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff [8]. Some years prior, MG had delivered a paper at the British Computer Society [9] where Ken Wood of Microsoft Research in Cambridge [10] and the current CTO of CISCO Monique Morrow were present [11]. It did not take long on that occasion, for the discussion on microchipping of humans to zero in on the potential for an “onoff” switch for implantables located somewhere in the human body, perhaps on the forearm. Soon after, we had chance meetings, first at an airport in India with a Nokia chief who beckoned MG to become a tech evangelist for them. There was another in 2010 in our little hometown with a longstanding InQTel employee who stated that what we were working on was the future [12]. Business cards exchanged, what were the odds we thought of all of these “touchpoints.” I too, spoke to an employee from Ericsson over breakfast about implantables at IEEE ISTAS’15 in Dublin and again, as karma struck once more, he was the very same man who wrote the article I was pointing to in our discussion [13]. So what to make of all these primary, face-to-face links, save to say that our research trajectory had been on target and this was an area of research now preoccupying the time of big business? Informal validations from very formal players — and these persons weren’t just your “think outside the box” hackers, they were executives of large multinationals who still hold major influence today.

Industry Deregulation

Initially, I had studied the historical emphasis on back-end interoperability for fundamental financial transactions in Europay, MasterCard and VISA, or what was known as the EMV alliance [14]. But dramatic things were to follow beyond “standards” and “specifications” — a wave of fullblown deregulation of the telecommunications and banking sectors across the globe then occurred bit by bit. It had become evident that traditional providers were being pre - ssured by non-traditional players [15]. Credit card companies now had competitors who were information and communication technology (ICT) giants. It did not take long after the MONDEX card and other failed smart card initiatives for the mobile telephony revolution to gather steam and come head to head with companies like VISA. I recall the attempt in Australia to launch the “mini” VISA that one could wear as a necklace or bracelet which was literally the size of a semiconductor chip. But the horse had bolted, and soon Apple and Samsung were offering their own payment gateways [16], circumventing the need for banks or credit card companies to play any part in customer transactions. On the occasions I’ve spoken on financial payments or financial crime in Australia, again the em - phasis has been on what the future of e-payments might look like [17]. Almost always, the focus has been on how to capture the consumer’s loyalty. In some of my talks here, I have described the steady technological trajectory from luggables to wearables to implantables. Of course, big players are well aware of the trends and have sometimes denied the possibilities on the one hand [18], only to subsequently engage in the very same research they have said to sideline [19]. Scenarios are crucial for these companies. I don’t fault them for thinking about what might come next [20]. We should all be thinking with such foresight. But all of this leads to what Foster and Jaegar called “murky ethics” in one IEEE Spectrum paper I reviewed in 2007 [21]. On the one hand, big corporations saying “we’d never do it,” and on the other hand, “it’s inevitable.” This reminds me of the forthcoming volume by transhumanist commentator Lazar Puhalo on the Ethics of the Inevitable [22].

Getting Real

Yet, I am often surprised by the fact that so many people that should be in the know about the latest technologies consider most of this implant talk within the realm of “mark of the beast” or “conspiracy theory” talk. MG Michael presented a paper on anti-chipping laws in the U.S. [23] in 2009, and was bewildered by the lack of awareness of the conference audience when they are foremost ahead in social implications of technology generalist discussions. The same thing happened to me at IEEE Sections Congress 2017, when I delivered my talk more recently. Many people were stunned at the use cases I was showing. Yet, increasingly, now, due to the reach of content platforms like YouTube, awareness of what is possible is growing, as is validation of what people are claiming is happening or indeed, wanting to normalize. For those of us keeping abreast of the latest developments day in day out, we also seem somewhat desensitized as a result of having watched endless piercings, “live” in action, streamed over the Internet. The format goes a little bit like this:

1) some nervous jokes to begin with,

2) surgical gloves come out in full view,

3) a discussion ensues about the importance of sterilization to keep infection at bay,

4) a sharp needle,

5) a tiny transponder,

6) breaking the skin,

7) a bit of blood,

8) some ad lib from the body piercer who is wearing tattoos and ear implants,

9) a hefty grin by the implantee who comments in passing “it doesn’t hurt,”

10) and then a band-aid and “that’s it” [24].

But that’s not it, and transformation takes more than just sporting an implant, although the outward bodily transfigurations cannot help but to have an inward-facing metaphysical and existential impact on the human person.

Caption: Initial implants were conducted by general practitioners (i.e. medical doctors) early in the 2000s. Over the last decade, we've replaced the white gown and clinical hospital-style backdrop with black gloves, tattoos and piercing professionals conducting the implant procedure, DIY style, with audiences looking on- a real public spectacle.

Recent Non-Medical Implantable Use Cases

 32Market Campaign for chipping employees and linking implantable chips to vending machines for epayment

32Market Campaign for chipping employees and linking implantable chips to vending machines for epayment

An overview, not exhaustive, of some of the more significant implant usecases in the last few years, includes: GoogleX’s swallowable chip [25], dangerousthings.com (myUKI re - branded as Vivokey) [26], [27], Tim Cannon [28] and Wetware Groundhouse [29] NorthStar and Circadia, the Swedish chipping parties [30], biohacker Hannes Sjoblad [31] and co-founder and CEO of Epicenter Patrick Mesterton [32], Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed and his epayment chip [59], the launch of DeusEx (USA and Australia) [33], chipmylife. com [34], Andreas Sjostrom (implant boarding pass) [35], Biohax International (Swedish body piercers) [36], SJRAil Priority customers (Sweden) [37], Biofoundry’s Founder Meow Meow and his Opal Card implant [38], 32Market (Wisconsin, USA) [39], [40], etc.

Among the implantees seem to be a growing list of journalists who are getting implanted for the millisecond shock factor of their online audiences. This trend will soon subside, the spectacle of something going into the body “for the first time” completely replaced by the potential flood of active nonmedical use cases. Journalists will also soon figure out that their body capacities are limited, and any future implantable will likely be taking up important “real estate” space. To the non-techy onlooker, this might seem like some form of human digital revolution (aka augmented humans), or some very extreme form of self-harm [41]. But then what of claims, from large companies like Medtronics who foresee a sensor implanted in everyone [42]? This is the normalization of the weird into the wonderful into the “cannot live without.” Companies like Cochlear in 2017 have described the potential to fuse their hearing implantable device with a service that delivers entertainment like music straight to the ear [43]. Why not? This is the blurring of the prosthetic with the amplified, the medical with the entertainment as I had once noted in a TEDXUWollongong scenario [44].

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics or Is It?

It is very difficult to predict what the future has in store for us. Table 1 shows some of the key surveys to have been conducted over the last 14 years. Perhaps most confusing is the disparity of the findings between the studies, though they have all measured different things, and have sourced respondents in various markets with varying levels of technology awareness. As readers we need to be aware of the message being sold to us by companies with vested interests, and a variety of emerging stakeholders. Survey bias is ever present and as consumers we need to always ask the fundamental questions before we make our own minds up about the latest technology rewards. This is our future. We will make of it what we will. But the strategic techno-spin boiler engine rooms will just continue to grow in sophistication making it harder for consumers to believe in something other than what they are projecting. It’s time to vote with our wallets, not just our voices [60]. Perhaps the bigger issues at hand, as I am constantly reminded by my biohacker friends, is not whether or not some government will forcibly implant us all for social security purposes and surveillance, but what is presently happening with the mass scale big data collection strategies using social media intelligence, CCTV, behavioral biometrics using facial recognition and visual analytics to monitor human activities, the keystroke-level tracking of end-users by third parties on Internet websites, the use of in-bound technology devices that conduct ICT surveillance and home monitoring, and even fitness trackers we carry alongside our mobile phone that are set to control our health insurance premiums. I will always riposte, wait till all of these are applied together as in the full-blown Uberveillance scenario [45], [46]. We predict the integration of invasive token and non-token based payment schemes for two-factor authentication (e.g., Alibaba’s use of facial recognition payment systems in KFCs in China [47]). Already one trial that Baidu led at the beginning of this year used facial recognition technology to predict customer orders [48]. Now that’s one way to speed up transactions at the point of sale, and potentially ensure calorie controlled intake as well!

What Kind of World Do You Want to Live In?

As my last editorial as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, I leave you with these final thoughts. What kind of world do you want to live in? I hope together we have continued to trail-blaze this question as a community of conscientious voices in my six years as EIC. Please never underestimate the significance of all your contributions. These don’t stem solely from scholarly works, but most likely might be in everyday discussions over a coffee to unexpectedly raise awareness about social implications of technology, or helping others harness the power of technology when there is real benefit. Personally, I have been inspired by these everyday conversations with people: with neighbors, with mums and dads, with the elderly in aged care, with young kids, with nurses, with teachers, and with those suffering from some of the negative backburn of the new technologies. Social implications of technology is not an “exclusive” topic that belongs to scientists, or academic researchers, or inventors alone, but to all of us who can observe the impacts in our own homes, our workplaces, dwellings we frequent like clubs, and even governments.

A long list of thank yous, I will need to cut short given space. Thank you to the authors who took time to research on pertinent topics of SSIT. Thank you to reviewers who freely gave of their time to offer their insights and ensure a top class benchmark was retained. To my outstanding Associate Editors and columnists who were there as a sounding board and who offered their own expert opinions, so often. To Terri Bookman who I know firsthand works round the clock to bring you the publication you see today — you have been sensational and the reason we have won so many awards. To my predecessors, Keith W. Miller and Joe Herkert, for always being there when I needed advice and practical help. And to the Vice Presidents/Presidents and Board of Governors of IEEE SSIT for all their ongoing support and direction, which I’ve always tried to incorporate. What an unforgettable experience for me! I will forever cherish the opportunity and pinch myself that it all happened. I was interviewed for the role just after my youngest child was born … I must confess it’s not always been easy, but oh so worth it! Thank you to my selfless husband whose discernment I would call upon and to my three young kids who were forever patient. I leave you in safe hands. To the forthcoming editor, Professor Jeremy Pitt of Imperial College London of whom I have the utmost respect. The trailblazing will continue on topics not previously covered, I am sure. And if his previous special issues and sections in IEEE Technology and Society are anything to go by — get ready for some spectacular work with an extensive new trusted network for SSIT to embrace. References

References

[1] K. Michael, “Go “get chipped” — A brief overview of non-medical implants between 1997-2013 (Part 1),” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., vol. 36, no. 3, Sept. 2017.

[2] A. Masters and K. Michael, “Lend me your arms: The use and implications of humancentric RFID,” Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 29-39, 2007.

[3] K. Michael, “Mental health, implantables, and side effects,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., pp. 5-7, Jun. 17, 2015.

[4] IBM, “The future market: Business innovations,” 2007; https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=eob532iEpqk, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[5] IBM, “Inventory off track: IBM can help,” 2007; https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=oAvQcYcvyaw, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[6] Applied Digital Solutions, “The VeriChip: HealthLink information,” 2006; https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms-XLxIi7Xo, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[7] M.G. Michael and K. Michael, “Uberveillance” in Proc. 29th Int. Conf. Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. Privacy Horizons: Terra Incognita, Location Based Tracking Workshop (Montreal, Canada), 2007;http://works.bepress.com/ kmichael/146/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[8] M. Geist, “The Future of Privacy: Privacy Threats No Longer “Terra Incognita,” Oct. 2, 2007; http://www.michaelgeist .ca/2007/10/terra-incognita-column-post/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[9] L. Perusco, K. Michael, MG Michael, “Location-based services and the privacy-security dichotomy,” in Proc. 3rd Int. Conf. Mobile Computing and Ubiquitous Networking (London, British Computer Society), Oct. 11-13, 2006, pp. 91-98.

[10] K. Wood, “Ubiquitous computing at Microsoft Research in UK,” Channel 9, Sept. 29, 2004; https://channel9.msdn .com/Blogs/TheChannel9Team/Ken-WoodUbiquitous-computing-at-Microsoft-Researchin-UK, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[11] S. Chan, “Monique Morrow aims to give others identity — and her identity is built on helping others,” CISCO: The Network, Sept. 7, 2016; https://newsroom.cisco.com/ feature-content?type=webcontent&article Id=1785844, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[12] IQT, “National security: Identify, adapt, deliver,” In-Q-Tel, 2017; https://www.iqt .org/sectors/national-security/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[13] S. Kupriyanov, “Four reasons chip implants aren’t mainstream,” The Networked Society, Jul. 29, 2015; https:// www.ericsson.com/thinkingahead/ the-networked-society-blog/2015/07/29/ four-reasons-chip-implants-arent-mainstream/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[14] K. Michael, The Automatic Identification Industry Trajectory, Ph.D. thesis, School of Information Technology and Computer Science, University of Wollongong, 2003, ch. 6.4.5.1.

[15] C.A. Allen and W.J. Barr, Eds., Smart Cards: Seizing Strategic Business Opportunities. McGraw-Hill, New York. 1997.

[16] S. Lohr, “As more pay by Smartphone, banks scramble to keep up,” NYTimes, Jan. 18, 2016; https://www.nytimes.com/ 2016/01/19/ technology/upstarts-are-leading-the-fintechmovement-and-banks-take-heed.html.

[17] K. Michael, “A brave new world of ‘under the skin’ payments,” presented at Technology & Innovation — The Future of Payments (Sydney, Australia), Sept. 19, 2014; http://fst.net.au/conferences/technology-innovation-future-payments.

[18] G. Storey, “Bringing the ease of contactless payments to the virtual marketplace,” presented at Technology & Innovation — the Future of Payments (Sydney, Australia), Sept. 19, 2014; http://fst.net.au/ conferences/technology-innovation-futurepayments.

[19] H. Francis, “Chip implants beneath the skin bring a new meaning to ‘pay wave’,” Sydney Morning Herald, http://www .smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/ chip-implants-beneath-the-skin-bring-a-newmeaning-to-pay-wave-20150528-ghbq71. html, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[20] K. Michael, G. Roussos, G.Q. Huang, R. Gadh et al., “Planetary-scale RFID services in an age of uberveillance,” Proc. IEEE, vol. 98, no. 9, pp. 1663-1671, 2010.

[21] K.R. Foster and J. Jaeger, “RFID inside: The murky ethics of implanted chips,” IEEE Spectrum, pp. 24-29, Mar. 2007; http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~markhill/cs252/ Fall2013/handouts/spectrum07_rfid_ethics .pdf, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[22] K. Michael, “A conversation with Lazar Puhalo,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., vol. 34, mo. 3, pp. 25-28, Dec. 17, 2014; http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/ document/7270450/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[23] A. Friggieri, K. Michael and M.G. Michael, “The legal ramifications of microchipping people in the United States of America- A state legislative comparison,” in Proc. IEEE Int. Symposium on Technology and Society (Tempe: AZ, U.S.A.), May 18-20, 2009, pp. 1-8.

[24] M. Aslander, “At the Singularity Summit in Amsterdam, Peter Diamandis gets an NFC implant,” Singularity Summit, Nov. 20, 2014; https://vimeo.com/112366539, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[25] K. Lachance Shandrow, “Swallow This ‘Password’ pill to unlock your digital devices,” Entrepreneur, Feb. 3, 2014; https://www .entrepreneur.com/article/231182, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[26] VICE Staff, “VICE Motherboard covers Project UKI (now Vivokey),” Motherboard, Oct. 17, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=GSv0hb0GeBQ, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[27] K. Michael, “RFID/NFC implants for bitcoin transactions,” IEEE Consumer Electronics Mag., vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 103-106, 2016.

[28] Vice Staff, “Experimenting with biochip implants,” Motherboard, Oct. 31, 2013; https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=clIiP1H3Opw, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[29] T. Johnson, “Dawn of the bionic age: Body hackers let chips get under their skin,” SecurityInfoWatch, Aug. 7, 2017; http://www.securityinfowatch.com/news/12357686/dawn-of-the-bionic-agebody-hackers-let-chips-get-under-their-skin, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[30] R. Troup Buchanan, “Swedish firm microchips employees,” The Independent, Feb. 27, 2015; http://www.independent .co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/swedishfirm-microchips-employees-10075400.html, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[31] H. Sjoblad, “The coming Age of Human Augmentation,” TEDxBerlin, Nov. 22, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= EmxFrf8vMnE, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[32] SIME, “Sime Stockholm 2014: Corporate Innovation, Anne Nahkala, Patrick Mesterton,” presented at SIME Conf., 2014; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 5GceQHYYotA, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[33] DeusEx, “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided presents Human by Design,” DeusEx, April 24, 2015; https://www.twitch.tv/ videos/81526366, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[34] S. Stevens and S. Korporaal, Chipmylife.com, Sept. 6, 2017; https://chipmylife .io/, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[35] A. Sjöström, “Boarding a flight with an NFC implant,” Sogeti, Jan. 8, 2016; https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORDjQU5pBc0, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[36] M. Astor, “Microchip implants for employees? One company says yes,” NYTimes, July 25, 2017; https://www .nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/ microchips-wisconsin-company-employees .html, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[37] C. Weller, “A Swedish rail line now scans microchip implants in addition to accepting paper tickets,” Business Insider, June 20, 2017; https://www.businessinsider .com.au/swedish-rail-company-scansmicrochip-tickets-17-6-2017-6, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[38] N. Dole, “Sydney man has Opal card implanted into hand to make catching public transport easier,” ABC, June 27, 2017; http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017- 06- 27/sydney-bio-hacker-has-opal-travelcard-implanted-into-hand/8656174, accessed Sept. 11, 2017.

[39] C. Swedberg, “Wisconsin company plans NFC chip implant party,” RFID J., July 27, 2013; http://www.rfidjournal.com/ articles/view?16407, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[40] K. Michael, A. Aloudat, M.G. Michael, and C. Perakslis, “You want to do what with RFID?: Perceptions of radio-frequency identification implants for employee identification in the workplace,” IEEE Consumer Electronics Mag., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 111-117, July 2017.

[41] S.R. Bradley Munn, K. Michael, and M.G. Michael, “The social phenomenon of body-modifying in a world of technological change: past, present, future,” in Proc. 2016 IEEE Conf. on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW), Melbourne, Australia, July 13-16, 2016; http://ieeexplore .ieee.org/abstract/document/7547463/.

[42] K. Michael, “Implantable medical device tells all: Uberveillance gets to the heart of the matter,” IEEE Consumer Electronics Mag., vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 107-115, Oct. 2017.

[43] E. Hinchliffe, “This made-for-iPhone cochlear implant is a big deal for the deaf community,” Mashable, July 27, 2017; http://mashable.com/2017/07/26/cochlearimplant-iphone/#9ijsleSJqaqJ, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[44] K. Michael, “Microchipping people,” TEDxUWollongong, May 5, 2012; https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnghvVR5Evc, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[45] M.G. Michael and K. Michael, “Toward a state of Überveillance,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 9-16, 2010; http://ieeexplore.ieee .org/document/5475070/.

[46] K. Michael and R. Clarke, “Location and tracking of mobile devices: Überveillance stalks the streets,” Computer Law and Security Rev., vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 216-228, 2013.

[47] T. Ong, “KFC in China tests letting people pay by smiling: Pay using your face and cellphone number,” The Verge, Sept. 4, 2017; https://www.theverge .com/2017/9/4/16251304/kfc-china-alipayant-financial-smile-to-pay, accessed Sept. 5, 2017.

[48] A. Hawkins, “KFC China is using facial recognition tech to serve customers – but are they buying it?,” The Guardian, Jan. 11, 2017; https://www.theguardian .com/ technology/2017/jan/11/china-beijingfirst-smart-restaurant-kfc-facial-recognition, accessed Sept. 11, 2017.

[49] C. Perakslis and R. Wolk, “Social acceptance of RFID as a biometric security method,” in Proc. 2005 Int. Symp. Technology and Society, Weapons and Wires: Prevention and Safety in a Time of Fear, pp. 79-87.

[50] K. Johnston, K. Michael, and M.G. Michael, “Consumer awareness in Australia on the prospect of humancentric RFID Implants for personalised applications,” presented at. ICMB ’07 (Toronto, Canada), 2007; https://works.bepress.com/ kmichael/149/.

[51] EDRI-gram, “Survey on chip implants in Germany,” Digital Civil Rights in Europe, Mar. 10, 2010; http://history.edri.org/ edrigram/number8.5/study-human-chipsgermany.

[52] A. Donoghue “CeBIT: Quarter Of Germans happy to have chip implants,” Silicon, Mar. 10, 2010; http://www.silicon .co.uk/workspace/cebit-quarter-of-germanshappy-to-have-chip-implants-5590?inf_ by=59a906c7671db8300a8b46f4, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[53] K. Michael and M.G. Michael, Survey conducted Jan. 2013; results not yet analyzed.

[54] K. Michael, and M.G. Michael, Survey conducted Oct. 2013; results not yet published.

[55] R. Boden, “Half of Brits expect to replace cash with new technologies,” NFC World, Aug. 28, 2015; https://www.nfcworld .com/2015/08/28/337345/half-of-britsexpect-to-replace-cash-with-new-technologies/, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[56] PWC, “Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030,” PWC’s People and Organisation Practice, http://www .pwc.com.au/media-centre/assets/workforceof-the-future.pdf, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[57] E. Hannan and S. Fox Koob, “Worker chip implants ‘only matter of time’,” The Australian, http://www.theaustralian.com .au/business/technology/worker-chip-implantsonly-matter-of-time/news-story/1f9f9317cc 84f365410a089566153f51, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[58] D. Powell, “Two thirds of workers open to “physical and mental augmentations” like microchips, but are there ethical issues?” Smartcompany, Aug. 4, 2017; https://www.smartcompany.com.au/peoplehuman-resources/two-thirds-workers-openphysical-mental-augmentations-likemicrochips-ethical-issues/.

[59] C. Warzel, “I put a payment chip in my hand to replace my wallet,” BuzzFeed: The Future of Money, May. 21, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_ continue=3&v=hTBJ6OIGkzc, accessed Nov. 20, 2017.

[60] M.G. Michael and K. Michael, “Resistance is not futile, nil desperandum,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., pp. 10-13, Sept. 2015; http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/ stamp.jsp?arnumber=7270446.

[61] K. Michael, C. Perakslis, and M.G. Michael, “Microchip implants for employees in the workplace: Findings from a multicountry survey of small business owners,” in Surveillance in Everyday Life, Gavin Smith, Ed. University of Sydney, Feb. 20, 2012.

[62] C. Perakslis, K. Michael, M.G. Michael, and R. Gable, “Perceived barriers for implanting microchips in humans,” in Proc. 2014 IEEE Conf. on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW), 2014.

[63] A. Heber, “A quarter of Australians are OK having a chip implanted in them to pay for stuff,” Business Insider, May 26, 2015; https://www.businessinsider.com. au/a-quarter-of-australians-are-ok-having-a-chipimplanted-in-them-to-pay-for-stuff-2015-5, accessed Nov 20, 2017.

Citation: Katina Michael, 2017, "Go “Get Chipped”: A Brief Overview of Non-Medical Implants between 2013-2017 (Part 2) ", IEEE Technology & Society  Magazine, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=8169145, Vol. 36, No. 4,  pp. 6-12.

 


Go Get Chipped - Part 1

For over 20 years, MG Michael and I have been researching the social implications of microchipping people. In 1996 as part of a final year major project in my Bachelor of Information Technology degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, I researched the potential for government identifiers to be implanted in the human body, with supervisor Prof. Jenny Edwards [1].

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Influenced greatly by the early works of Roger Clarke [2] and Simon Davies [3] in Australia, I became especially interested in “where to next?” A single image I had come across in the Library of Andersen Consulting headquarters in North Sydney while in my cooperative employment semester in April 1996, has stuck with me ever since. Depicted in a cartoon figure was the body of a man, with a computer “head.” No eyes, no ears, just a blank cathode ray tube (CRT). The headline of that report read: “The Human Metaphor” [4]. In December of that year I found myself working as a graduate engineer at Nortel Networks.

In 1997 Eduardo Kac became the first human to implant himself with a non-medical device in the performance art work titled “Time Capsule” [5]. After injecting an implant above his left ankle, Kac went on to register himself on a pet database. This performance piece was streamed live on the Internet. One year later in 1998 the company I worked for sponsored the Cyborg 1.0 project at the University of Reading and continued support for Cyborg 2.0, alongside Tumbleweed Communications, Computer Associates, and Fujitsu [6]. I learned of this cyborg project through the company's global hardcopy newspaper. I remember sitting at my desk turning to the back page and reading a short column about how implantables were destined to be our future. At the time I had begun a Ph.D. on the topic of “Smart Card Innovation in Government Applications,” but quickly redirected my focus to holistically study major automatic identification innovations, inclusive of chip implants. Dr. Ellen McGee and Dr. Gerald Q. Maguire, Jr., had begun to research ethical and policy issues around implantable brain chips as early as 2001, but I was more preoccupied in how this technology could be used for everyday banking and telecommunications applications as a blackbox implantable in the arm or upper torso.

Prof. Kevin Warwick had become the first academic to be implanted with a cylindrical transponder that not only identified him but also located him in his building [7]. After rigging up the corridors of the Cybernetics Department at the University of Reading, an interactive map would locate Warwick as he walked throughout the building. His office was also rigged up with readers, so that his presence was somewhat ambient — as he walked into the room, the lights would switch on and his computer would turn on to his favorite webpage. In 1999 British Telecom's Peter Cochrane wrote Tips for Time Travellers in which he described a microchip implant akin to something he noted would be a “soul catcher chip” [8]. The year Cochrane's monograph was published, the Auto-ID Center consortium at M.I.T. formally began research on the “Internet of Things,” a term coined by former Procter and Gamble assistant brand manager, Kevin Ashton [9]. Cyborg 2.0 followed on March 14, 2002, when Warwick had a one hundred electrode array surgically implanted into the median nerve fibers of his left arm [10]. Here Warwick showed the potential of brain-to-computer interfaces (BCI) but also the potential of brain-to-brain interfaces (BBI). During this whole period, I was busy working on projects related to telecommunications deregulation across Asia, seeing firsthand the right angle turn from voice to data, and the explosion of mobile telephony and later 3G mobile infrastructure. The world was changing rapidly and I knew I had to finish my Ph.D. as soon as possible. As chance would have it, I headed for academia.

Post the dot.com crash, we were all shocked by scenes such as those of September 11, 2001. It did not take long for people to emphasize the importance of security, and how to address risk on a large scale. Companies like Applied Digital Solutions [11], and later VeriChip Corporation [12] and Positive ID [13], described the potentiality of a unique ID being embedded in the right tricep. This was no myth. Applied Digital Solutions received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a personal health record identifier in 2004 [14]. The CEO of the VeriChip Corporation (and later PositiveID), Scott Silverman, pointed to the many benefits of such an implantable. He noted the possibility of such a device being tethered to an electronic bracelet being able to help first responders get out of hopeless situations, like a burning tower that was about to collapse. There were 2996 people killed and more than 6000 others wounded in the September 11 attacks. Silverman emphasized the potential for saving people who were incapacitated and could not tell first responders about their condition [15]. Situations could range from people having an allergy to penicillin, diabetics requiring insulin, or even wander alerts for those suffering from dementia. VeriChip was successful in some high profile chippings, such as New Mexico's Attorney General Rafael Macedo and some of his staff [16], in addition to the Baja Beach club chain in both Rotterdam and Barcelona [17], and later in the small number of voluntary employee chippings at Citywatcher.com [18].

Apart from my thesis in 2003 [19], numerous papers written by academics became available on the chipping phenomenon in 2004 [20], and 2005 [21], including a landmark monograph titled SpyChips [22] written by Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. There were several attempts to chip Alzheimer's patients at aged care facilities in 2007, which did not go ahead en masse [23]. Christine Perakslis and the late Robert Wolk wrote pioneering papers on microchipping humans after the VeriChip was FDA approved [24]. In the same year, the EU Opinion N° 20 on “Ethical Aspects of ICT Implants in the Human Body” was published, written by The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) chaired by the Swedish philosopher, Göran Hermerén, and adopted on March 16, 2005 [25]. Among the Group were Professors Rafael Capurro and the late Stefano Rodotà.

For the greater part of the mid 2000s and later, we observed a growing number of biohackers who chose to dabble in “DIY” (do-it-yourself) implantable technology. The Tagged Forum was set up to accommodate fellow tinkerers at the beginning 2006, which became the “go” to” place for learning about how to tinker with RFID implants and what applications to build with them. The Forum soon attracted more attention than it cared for, and was targeted with posts proclaiming members were heralding in the “mark of the beast.” As a result, The Tagged went underground, so they could be left alone to continue tinkering. Building on cross-disciplinary study from as far back as the 1980s [26], MG Michael coined the term “uberveillence” in 2006 denoting embedded surveillance devices, while teaching at the University of Wollongong [27]. An entry on uberveillance later appeared in the Macquarie Dictionary in 2008 [28], proliferating quickly across the web including in The New York Times [29]. In that same year, Pawel Rotter et al. published their paper titled: “RFID implants: Opportunities and challenges for identifying people” in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (vol. 27, no. 2).

In 2007 M.G. Michael interviewed Professor Kevin Warwick [30], and biomedical device expert Professor Christopher Toumazou, Director of the Biomedical Institute at Imperial College London [31]. Among the popular implantees of that time were Amal Graafstra, Jonathan Oxer and Mikey Skylar. Graafstra was the author of RFID Toys, and was featured in an IEEE Spectrum issue in 2007 [32]. We invited him as a speaker to the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society in 2010 [33] which was dedicated to implantables, and co-wrote a paper on implants published in the Proceedings of the conference [34]. An excellent debate on the future of microchipping people using RFID was chaired at ISTAS'10 by William A. Herbert [45]. Months prior to ISTAS'10, I interviewed both the IT Manager responsible for creating the e-payment application at Baja Beach Club [35], and the consultant to Citywatcher.com [36]. These primary interviews formed key foundations into the larger inquiry. By 2009 [37] and 2014 [38], Michael and Michael had authored and co-edited large reference volumes on the social implications of chip implants and dozens of peer reviewed research papers with colleagues and students at UOW (e.g., [39]). In between these two studies, Dr. Mark Gasson had also co-edited and excellent Springer publication in 2012, on Human ICT Implants: Technical, Legal and Ethical Considerations [40]. He was the General Chair of ISTAS'10 at the University of Wollongong, and presented a paper on the potential for humans bearing implants to become infected with a computer virus [41]. At this time, it was clear that IEEE SSIT was drawing in specialists not just in cross-disciplinary fields, but also encouraging proponents of the technology to consider the sociotechnical implications.

In mid-August 2017, I returned from the outstanding IEEE Sections Congress 2017 that was hosted in the International Convention Center in Sydney. I cannot speak highly enough of this event. I presented as part of a panel chaired by SSIT Past President Greg Adamson on “Addressing Social Challenges to Technology” and spoke on the attention that non-medical implantables have received in recent times when compared with the previous decade. Out of the 50+ people present in the room only 4 people raised their hands when I asked the question “would anyone in this room get chipped” [42]? It is important to note that all of the people present were tech-savvy, many of them were entrepreneurs, working in industry or in academia. I contrasted this figure with the very unbelievable figures cited in The Australian that said a survey of 10 000 Pricewater-houseCoopers employees across major economies found 70 per cent would consider using “treatments to enhance their brain and body if this improved their employment prospects” [43]. I made the point that we need to challenge such “claims.” I also made the point that IEEE SSIT has been working in the emerging technology domain asking critical questions since its creation and has had much to do with the study of medical and non-medical embedded devices. That for us as SSIT members, speaking on emerging technologies is not new, and researching them using a plethora of approaches is something we are entirely comfortable with — legal, technical, societal, economic, etc. [44]. I urged people in the room to become members of SSIT, to bring their expertise to such urgent subject areas, to discuss the pros and cons, and add know-how where it was needed — e.g. spectrum, regulatory, health, business, etc. In the December 2017 issue of T&S Magazine, I will continue with a Part 2 to this editorial covering progress in the implantables domain since 2013 urging members to construct projects that will further interrogate the complexities of our technological trajectory.

We should remember and celebrate the contributions of our members and non-members to our Magazine, our annual conference and workshops, specific projects, and papers. Please search our corpus of outcomes on our upgraded web site which now contains a lot of free material, cite them in the future, and challenge people when they tell you that “x” or “y” is “brand new” or “has never been researched before.” It is a golden opportunity to connect people to SSIT, and bring in new expertise and volunteers to focus on our Five Pillars. We must know ourselves better, if we are to expect others to know who we are and what we stand for.

References

1. K. Michael, The future of government identifiers, Sydney, Australia:School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, University of Technology, Nov. 1996.
2. R. Clarke, "Information technology and dataveillance", Commun. ACM, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 498-512, 1988.
3. S. Davies, Big Brother: Australia's Growing Web of Surveillance, East Roseville, NSW:Simon & Schuster, 1992.
4. R. Tren, "Trends in the cards industry", Andersen Consulting, pp. 1-99, 1995.
5. E. Kac, "Event in which a microchip (identification transponder tag) was implanted in the artist's left ankle" in Time Capsule, São Paulo, Brazil:Casa das Rosas Cultural Center, 1997, [online] Available: http://www.ekac.org/timec.html.
6. K. Warwick, M. Gasson, B. Hutt et al., "The application of implant technology for cybernetic systems", Arch Neurol., vol. 60, no. 10, pp. 1369-1373, 2003.
7. K. Michael, E. Lawrence, J. Lawrence, S. Newton, S. Dann, B. Corbitt, T. Thanasankit, "The automatic identification trajectory" in Internet Commerce: Digital Models for Business, Australia:Wiley, pp. 131-134, 2002.
8. P. Cochrane, Tips for Time Travelers, McGraw-Hill, pp. 7-57, 1999.
9. About the lab, Auto-ID Labs, [online] Available: https://autoid.mit.edu/about-lab.
10. Kevin Warwick, Project Cyborg 2.0: The next step towards true Cyborgs?, [online] Available: http://www.kevinwarwick.com/project-cyborg-2-0/.
11. J. Lettice, "First people injected with ID chips sales drive kicks off", The Register, [online] Available: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/06/10/first_people_injected_with_id/.
12. K. Albrecht, "Implantable RFID chips: Human branding", CASPIAN, [online] Available: http://www.antichips.com/what-is-verichip.htm.
13. Positive ID, Wikipedia, [online] Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PositiveID.
14. Medical devices; general hospital and personal use devices; Classification of implantable radiofrequency transponder system for patient identification and health information, Department of Health and Human Services: FDA, [online] Available: https://www.fda.gov/ohrrns/dockets/98fr/04-27077.htm.
15. "Implantable personal verification systems", ADSX, [online] Available: http://www.adsx.com/prodservpart/verichip.html.
16. Mexican officials get chipped, Wired, [online] Available: https://www.wired.com/2004/07/mexican-officials-get-chipped/.
17. K. Michael, M.G. Michael, "The diffusion of RFID implants for access control and epayments: A case study on Baja Beach Club in Barcelona", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 242-252, 2010.
18. K. Michael, MG Michael, "The future prospects of embedded microchips in humans as unique identifiers: The risks versus the rewards", Media Culture and Society, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 78-86, 2013.
19. K. Michael, The technological trajectory of the automatic identification industry: the application of the systems of innovation (SI) framework for the characterisation and prediction of the auto-ID industry, 2003.
20. K. Michael, MG Michael, "Microchipping people: The rise of the electrophorus", Quadrant, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 22-33, Mar. 2005.
21. K. Michael, A. Masters, "Applications of human transponder implants in mobile commerce", Proc. 8th World Multiconterence on Systemics Cybernetics and Informatics, pp. 505-512, Jul. 2004.
 Show Context  
22. K. Albrecht, L. McIntyre, "Spychips: How major corporations and government plan to track your every purchase and watch your every move" in Nelson Current, Nashville, TN:, 2005.
23. "Alzheimer's patients lining up for microchip", ABC News, [online] Available: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=3536539.
24. C. Perakslis, R. Wolk, "Social acceptance of RFID as a biometric security method", Proc. Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 79-87, 2005.
25. Ethical aspects of ICT implants in the human body: Opinion presented to the Commission by the European Group on Ethics, [online] Available: europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-05-97_en.pdf.
26. M.G. Michael, "Demystifying the number of the beast in the Book of Revelation: Examples of ancient cryptology and the interpretation of the “666” conundrum", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 23-41, 2010.
27. M.G. Michael, "On the virth of Uberveillance", Uberveillance.com, [online] Available: http://uberveillance.com/blog/2012/2/15/on-the-blrth-of-uberveillance.html.
28. M.G. Michael, K. Michael, S. Butler, "Uberveillance" in Fifth Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, Australia's National Dictionary, Sydney University, pp. 1094, 2009.
29. Schott's Vocab, Uberveillance, The New York Times, [online] Available: https://schott.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/uberveillance/.
30. M.G. Michael, Kevin Warwick, The Professor who has touched the future, Feb. 2007, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2014/1/23/the-professor-who-has-touched-the-future.
31. M.G. Michael, Christofer Toumazou, The biomedical pioneer, Oct. 2006, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2014/1/23/the-biomedical-pioneer.
32. A. Graafstra, "Hands on - How RFID and I got personal", IEEE Spectrum, [online] Available: http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/hands-on.
33. A. Graafstra, Invited Presentation on RFID Implants IEEE ISTAS '10, [online] Available: https.//www.youtube.com/watch?v=kraWt1adY3k.
34. A. Graafstra, K. Michael, M.G. Michael, K. Michael, "Social-technical issues facing the humancentric RFID implantee sub-culture through the eyes of Amal Graafstra", Proc. IEEE Symp. on Technology and Society, pp. 498-516, 2010.
35. K. Michael, Serafin Vilaplana, The Baja Beach Club IT Manager;, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2015/3/20/r8vw5tpv8rr9tieeg7kgvej2racs5v.
36. K. Michael, Gary Retherford, The microchip implant consultant, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2015/3/20/gary-retherford-the-microchip-implant-consultant.
37. K. Michael, M.G. Michael, Innovative Automatic Identification and Location-Based Services: From Bar Codes to Chip Implants., Hershey, PA: IGI, 2009.
38. M.G. Michael, K. Michael, Uberveillance and the Social Implications of Microchip Implants: Emerging Technologies., Hershey, PA:IGI, 2013.
39. A. Friggieri, K. Michael, M.G. Michael, "The legal ramifications of micro-chipping people in the United States of America-A state legislative comparison", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 1-8, 2009.
40. M.N. Gasson, E. Kosta, D.M. Bowman, Human ICT Implants: Technical Legal and Ethical Considerations, The Hague, The Netherlands: Springer, 2012.
41. M.N. Gasson, "Human enhancement: Could you become infected with a computer virus?", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 61-68, 2010.
42. K. Michael, "The pros and cons of implantables", IEEE Sections Congress 2017, Aug. 2017, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J3NqhVmWuc.
43. E. Hannan, S. Fox Koob, "Worker chip implants ‘only matter of time’", theaustralian com, Aug. 2017, [online] Available: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/worker-chip-implants-only-matter-of-tlme/news-story/If9f9317cc84f365410a089566153f51.
44. Jeremy Pitt, This Pervasive Day: The Potential and Perils of Pervasive Computing, London, U.K.:World Scientific, 2012.
45. "The debate over microchipping people with ICT implants", IEEE ISTAS 2010 @ UOW - Panel Discussion YouTube, Mar. 2011, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl3Rps-VFdo.

Keywords

implants, Radiofrequency identification, Mobile communication, National security, Surveillance, Integrated circuits

Citation: Katina Michael, 2017, "Go Get Chipped?: A Brief Overview of Non-Medical Implants between 1997-2013 (Part 1)", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 36(3), pp. 6-9.

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The NFC Forum Innovation Awards

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One of the greatest judging experiences I have had the good fortune of being a part of was for the Near-Field Communication (NFC) Forum Innovation Award in its inaugural year [1]. (I was representing the IEEE Council on Radio-Frequency Identification.) The NFC Forum’s (www.nfc-forum.org) mission is to advance the use of NFC technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market about NFC technology.

The forum’s global member companies are currently developing specifications for a modular NFC device architecture and protocols for interoperable data exchange and device-independent service delivery, device discovery, and device capability. Unsurprisingly, sponsors of the NFC Forum are tech giants like Apple, Broadcom Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., Google, Intel, MasterCard Worldwide, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Corporation, STMicroelectronics, and Visa. NFC is being viewed as a key piece of the Internet of Things puzzle. Versatile and easy to implement, estimates are that it will be a US$21.8 billion industry by 2020, on the conservative side [2], with exponential growth expected by 2050 into an industry worth trillions of dollars.

The forum had a large contingent of international entrants for a variety of categories, including “Most Innovative NFC Product, Service, or Implementation,” “Best Mobile App,” and “Best NFC Startup” (see “The NFC Forum Innovation Award Winners by Category”). There were nine judges in all, including Allied Business Intelligence Senior Analyst Phil Sealy, Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) Association Terminals Director Paul Gosden, and The Smart Card Alliance Executive Director Randy Vanderhoof, and we all went through several rounds of judging.

Top honors went to Speech Code’s “Talking Labels,” Khushi Baby’s “Mobile Medical App,” and Dimple’s “Customizable Mobile Button Stickers” at the NFC Forum awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 14 March 2017. Entries were judged on their innovation, commercial potential, and usability as well as on the quality of design and implementation. The beauty of this competition from a judge’s eyes was that every entrant was so different in aim and objectives, design, implementation, and final product. In most cases, NFC was being described as a part of a larger process, a single component of a system acting as the key enabler.

There were entrants touting NFC in novel agricultural applications, factory or manufacturing automation, or services driven with consumer information access as the primary goal. Submissions ranged across a broad set of industries from the connected home, smart health, smart consumer, and automotive to Internet of Things, gaming, connected retail, and transportation. In one case study, an entrant pointed to the tens of thousands of end users of its implementation in the transportation industry, demonstrating not only that take-up has been well established but that NFC has been around for longer than people might think. The value in such competitions is that they pull members of the economic knowledge infrastructure closer together toward collaborative opportunities and common standardization that should see an emerging technology with enough support mechanisms to reach its full potential in the market [3].

According to the chair of the NFC Forum, Koichi Tagawa, “In today’s increasingly connected world, NFC offers a tap-based experience that simplifies, enriches, and improves our daily lives. Since it is easy to implement, developers and product designers are turning to NFC to enable the Internet of Things and deliver compelling, personalized user experiences.” This does beg the question whether or not there are any limits to NFC development and deployment.

It is such a versatile technology and integratable to just about anything. I have, though, been the first to question its application in certain market segments, including the financial sector, given the lack of emphasis being applied by the credit card industry at large to security of current tap-and-go solutions plaguing some local merchants. Yet, it is a sign of the times, perhaps, when embeddable NFC in humans for Bitcoin transactions is a legitimate registered entrant in a competition such as this one. We should be ready to witness anything imaginable to the free mind to enter the market. End users seem to like the ease of conducting transactions with NFC, even if they do not fully understand the implications of doing so.

Most Innovative NFC Product, Service or Implementation

The first-place winner in the “Most Innovative NFC Product, Service, or Implementation” category was Speech Code GmbH (Austria) (Figure 1) for its NFC talking labels, which enable up to 30 min of recorded speech in over 40 languages from stickers adhered to signage, food and beverage packaging, and retail products. Using NFC tags to enable speech output, the talking labels make it easy for people with disabilities, retail shoppers, or tourists to use their NFC-enabled phones to get important product information, such as food allergy and nutrition facts, as well as identification information for the visually impaired. This Austria-based company has won a string of past awards and has a vibrant female chief executive officer, Barbara Operschall, who is passionate about the tourism sector.

Figure 1. Speech Code GmbH (Austria) submitted a device that uses NFC tags to enable speech output, making it easy for people with disabilities, retail shoppers, or tourists to use their NFC-enabled phones to get important product information. (Image courtesy of Speech Code and NFC Forum.)

Best Mobile App

The first-place winner in the “Best Mobile App” category was Khushi Baby, Inc. (United States) for its NFC wearable health mobile application, which uses NFC mobile technology to enable health workers in India to interface with infant medical data through an NFC-tag-enabled digital necklace (Figure 2). Unlike paper immunization records that are difficult to maintain and access, clinicians can use NFC-enabled mobile devices and the Khushi Baby, or happy baby, mobile app to read the infant’s wearable necklace, identify which vaccinations are needed, upload the vaccine data into the cloud, and monitor the infant in real time. Modeled after amulet necklaces frequently worn by babies in this region, the waterproof, battery-free, digital necklace is ideal for use in rural communities, using low-power wireless technology for its operation.

It is easy to see how this mobile app might well be implemented for MedicAlert-style bracelets of various types in different kinds of markets. But underlying care applications are always the dominant factor of control. Stringent guidelines must ensure that the data gathered by the wearable device are not used retrospectively in nonmedical contexts. There also need to be regulatory guidelines introduced on how long the device is worn by infants and how the gathered data will be archived and who has access to the information and for how long.

If the Aadhaar multimodal biometric system is anything to judge by, emerging technologies in India are often deployed before the commensurate consumer protections are The beauty of this competition from a judge’s eyes was that every entrant was so different in aim and objectives, design, implementation, and final product. Of course, Khushi Baby has the best interests of children at heart, their care and hope for a better life, supporting health workers in their aims, but it is amazing how scope creep can easily pervade emerging technologies. Placing chips in bracelets or just about any other common fashion item can be a temptation for product developers who see potential for even greater functional applications [4]. Still, I am inspired by how daring Indian innovators are in pushing next-generation cell phone applications out to the public. Having traveled through India several times in the last few years, I have seen the vibrant tech sector, which is definitely thinking outside the box. But I am admittedly cautious with any application of technology that can be used to sort groups of people, independent of age, gender, and market. I would much prefer to see Indian innovators create their own mobile applications for their own communities in the longer term.

Figure 2. The device created by Khushi Baby, Inc. (United States) enables health workers in India to interface with infant medical data through an NFC-tag-enabled digital necklace. (Images courtesy of Khushi Baby, Inc.)

Best NFC Startup

The first-place winner in the “Best NFC Startup” category was Dimple, Inc. (Latvia) for its NFC-tag-based programmable buttons that personalize and streamline a user’s daily tasks (Figure 3). The highly customizable NFC sticker comes with two or four shortcut buttons that can be adhered to the back of an NFC-enabled device. From speed dialing, launching a flashlight, or other most-used apps, to creating an extra play button or controlling smart home controls, Dimple offers endless personalized options using the phone’s own energy. Now, that is innovative stuff!

Let’s try and make next year’s competition even bigger, better, and stronger. I urge more companies to enter into as many categories as they are eligible. Do not rush the process or rehash your ready-made marketing materials, but spend time to address the various NFC Forum criteria. The entrants who were clearly ahead of the game were those that had a fully functional system/app with real end users and could convey the social benefits with tangible evidence. I was personally struck by the effort of startups to get going in this growing market. Many hundreds of hours of energy were exerted, and the passion came through. Keep up the great work, and remember to remain customer focused. The returns will follow with time. Congratulations to all those who participated in the competition.

References

1. NFC industry customer experience and product design leaders share 2017 outlook and predictions on NFC technology, Dec. 2016, [online] Available: http://nfc-forum.org/nfc-industry-customer-experience-and-product-design-leaders-share-2017-outlook-and-predictions-on-nfc-technology/.

2. Near field communication market worth 21.84 billion USD by 2020, Mar. 2017, [online] Available: http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/near-field-communication.asp.

3. K. Michael, M. G. Michael, Innovative Automatic Identification and Location-Based Services: From Bar Codes to Chip Implants, Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2009.
 
4. Back to Undithal Khushi Baby, July 2014, [online] Available: http://khushi-baby.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/back-to-undithal.html.

Keywords

Awards, Mobile communication, Speech coding, Technological innovation

Citation: Katina Michael, "Novel NFC Applications to Enrich Our Connections", IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, July, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 118-121, 2017.

Not So Fast (book review)

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Not So Fast: Thinking Twice about Technology. By Doug Hill. Univ. of Georgia Press, Oct. 15, 2016, 240 pp.

In 2014, I had the good fortune of meeting Doug Hill in the flesh at the first IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (http://21stcenturywiener.org/). It was one of the highlights of the conference for me. I was attracted to Doug because of his outward simplicity but at the same time deep inner profundity. It did not take long for us to get talking of our mutual interests. For instance, we've both been influenced greatly by the French philosopher, sociologist and lay theologian Jacques Ellul [1], popularly known for The Technological Society (1964) [2], [3]. Hill is an investigative journalist by training, an award winning writer [4], with a specialization on the philosophy of technology.

In Not So Fast, Hill wastes no time in getting his point across. Chapter 1 opens: “Let me begin by stating the obvious: We live in an era of technological enthusiasm.” In his book, Hill attempts the impossible and pulls it off. He hits us with the hard facts, one after the other. And we can either take his word for it, or refute him page after page, until we realize, that the evidence is overwhelmingly stacked against us. In effect, Hill tells us “where we are at” with all this techno-deluge, even if we don't wish to admit it. He makes a point of highlighting the technological utopianism we have begun to believe and dream about, only to bring us down crashing the very next moment with the startling realities.

“Lively, fast moving, always entertaining,’Not So Fas’ offers a grand overview of the extravagant hopes and dire warnings that accompany the arrival of powerful new technologies. Blending the key ideas of classic and contemporary thinkers, Doug Hill explores the aspirations of those who strive for the heavens of artifice and those who find the whole enterprise a fool’s errand. This is the most engaging, readable work on the great debates in technology criticism now available and a solid contribution to that crucial yet unsettling tradition.”

—Langdon Winner, author of Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought; Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The book contains quotes from people we all look up to in the tech and business world, representing thousands of hours of research to craftily support the central thesis: “not so fast.” Hill proclaims in no uncertain words, that we have lost control over the very creations we have built to make life better for us. Somewhere along the way we have become emotionally attached to our technologies; rather than being extensions of us, it seems we have become extensions of them.

But for Hill. it's not all about the bling, and high-tech gadgetry. For Hill, it is more than being enslaved into a life of upgrades, although he does question the practices of Silicon Valley - the preoccupation of building the ultimate immortal man who can live forever through AI and some sort of fantastical Singularity [5], [6]. Hill doesn't just stop there. He looks for the underlying causes to why our climate has changed so detrimentally, the very processes that didn't begin with the introduction of smartphones or social media, but of events from hundreds of years ago. Indirectly, Hill entices the reader to scratch beneath the surface and think about the “how” and “why.”

In a somewhat prophetic voice, Hill arrives at the conclusion that if we are going to reverse things that we might as well begin now. What he's really talking about is the mystery of technology. Hill doesn't shun its value but he declares that we have to put it in its place, before it puts us in a place of no return. His is a voice of one crying in the wilderness, but he is not alone. The reader, no sooner reads a few more of Hill's chapters, and finds herself admitting what she's always known: “Technology doesn't always mean progress. In fact, sometimes it has some very ugly intended and unintended consequences.” In short, we gotta be alert and awake. But even more than that!

Hill digs deep and unravels the inherent qualities of technology, and proceeds to make us aware of the happenings around us [7]. Readers will be all the more enlightened to learn about some of Hill's conclusions, through practical examples in everyday life:

  1. The technological imperative. “Our entire way of life - the social fabric in which we live - is utterly, completely dependent on technology,” says Hill. “To free ourselves of that dependence would be so disruptive that economic and social chaos would result.”

  2. Technological momentum. “There's a simpler reason technologies become intractable: it's too hard to change them. We're stuck with the infrastructure we have,” Hill says. “For example, it's not easy to replace a city's sewer system from scratch.”

  3. Convergence and diffusion. “Technologies are communicable; they spread like viruses. They converge with other technologies and diffuse into unexpected areas,” says Hill. “Bronze casting methods first used to make church bells were soon used to make canons, for example. Today automation techniques - robots - are diffusing daily into ever-more industries and applications, from assembly of everything from cars and smartphones to the handling of banking transactions.”

  4. Speed. “Regulation is slow; technologies are fast,” says Hill. “So it is that governments are frequently unable to effectively control technological development. Hundreds of companies today are feverishly working to exploit the commercial potential of nanotechnology and synthetic biology, for example, despite the fact that no one is certain either technology is safe.”

 

“This is the technology criticism I’ve been waiting for - aware of the history of technology criticism and the history of changing attitudes toward technology, and at the same time attuned to contemporary developments. Not So Fast is readable, meticulously sourced, and, above all - nuanced. I recommend it for technology critics and enthusiasts alike.”

—Howard Rheingold, Internet pioneer and author of Tools for Thought, The Virtual Community, Smart Mobs, and “Net Smart”

In his conclusion, Hill isn't very optimistic about where we are at and he certainly doesn't give us any tangible or pragmatic ways to combat the predicament that society finds itself in. And yet, perhaps that has left the door open to a sequel, possibly about a resurgence in technology assessment, about the importance of resistance, and breaking with the belief that technology can do no evil.

Is the path we are on, really that irreversible? Are we headed down a road of inevitabilities, locked-in on auto-pilot? Or are there strategies we might be able to employ right now, as interlinked local communities that make up a collective global consciousness? We have the power, are we willing participants? How much do we care about the future to get involved?

Hill warns: “There's more to turning off machines than hitting a switch… We are deeply, intimately tied to our technologies, in all sorts of practical and emotional ways. To give them up would be literally life-threatening. That's why many experts believe our technologies have become'autonomous.’”

I give this book 5 stars not only because it is masterfully written - the reader feels like they have known Hill for years, a faint voice in the back of their head reaffirming truisms - but because it reveals socio-technical patterns and trends happening all round us. Hill also makes observations about things that others would at best say to leave alone.

“Doug Hill’s insights into technology are both original and profound. I’ve travelled in the highest reaches of the tech world for more than twenty years, and I still learned much from this book. He will be recognized as a leading thinker on technology and its impact on our world. In an industry that too seldom stops to think through the implications of the products we produce, his is a voice we need to hear.”

—Allen Noren, vice president of online, O’Reilly Media

It's time for those brave conversations, about technology in our homes and our schools, about technology in our industrial and military sectors, about what we should be pooling our resources into to ensure environmental sustainability, and about what should be better left alone. Whether hype or hope, we've embraced a pseudo-truth, that our human salvation will come from technology, abandoning myths 2000 years old.

And while Hill does not make reference to this specifically, I think we are unashamedly worshipping at the foot of technology, believing this will be our ultimate destiny, our chance to live forever on earth. And yet, our sensibilities should tell us that eternal life on earth, would be not unlike living in an endless loop, and as spiritual beings, get us nowhere. I return back to those fundamental human principles, are we bettering ourselves, our nature, because we are surrounded by so much technology, or are we just becoming less able to discern the good from the bad, the useful from the useless. And who or what is behind that wheel driving us to our destinies? It's time to get back in control.

Citation: Katina Michael, 2017, Book Review on Doug Hill's "Not So Fast", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 36(2), pp. 24-26.

Socio-Ethical Implications of Implantable Technologies in the Military Sector

Abstract:

The military sector has been investing in nanotechnology solutions since their inception. Internal assessment committees in defense programmatically determine to what degree complex technologies will be diffused into the Armed Forces. The broad term nanotechnology is used in this Special Issue of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine to encompass a variety of innovations, from special paint markers that can determine unique identity, to RFID implants in humans. With the purported demand for these new materials, we have seen the development of a fabrication process that has catapulted a suite of advanced technologies in the military marketplace. These technologies were once the stuff of science fiction. Now we have everything from exoskeletons, to wearable headsets with accelerated night vision, to armaments that have increased in durability in rugged conditions along with the ability for central command without human intervention. Is this the emergence of the so-called supersoldier, a type of Iron Man?

Nanotechnology in the Military Sector

The military sector has been investing in nanotechnology solutions since their inception. Internal assessment committees in defense programmatically determine to what degree complex technologies will be diffused into the Armed Forces. The broad term nanotechnology is used in this Special Issue of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine to encompass a variety of innovations, from special paint markers that can determine unique Identity, to RFID implants in humans. With the purported demand for these new materials, we have seen the development of a fabrication process that has catapulted a suite of advanced technologies in the military marketplace. These technologies were once the stuff of science fiction. Now we have everything from exoskeletons, to wearable headsets with accelerated night vision, to armaments that have increased in durability in rugged conditions along with the ability for central command without human intervention. Is this the emergence of the so-called super-soldier, a type of Iron Man?

Social Implications: Key Questions

This special issue is predominantly based on proceedings coming from the 9th Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security, co-convened by the authors of this guest editorial. The workshop focused specifically on human-centric implantable technologies in the military sector. Key questions the workshop sought to address with respect to implants included:

  • What are the social implications of new proposed security technologies?
  • What are the rights of soldiers who are contracted to the defense forces in relation to the adoption of the new technologies?
  • Does local military law override rights provided under the rule of law in a given jurisdiction, and 1 what are the legal implications?
  • What might be some of the side effects experienced by personnel in using nanotechnology devices that have not yet been tested under conditions of war and conflict?
  • How pervasive are nanotechnologies and microelectronics (e.g., implantable technologies) in society at large?


Recommended Reading

More broadly the workshop sought to examine socio-ethical implications with respect to citizenry, the social contract formed with the individual soldier, and other stakeholders such as industry suppliers to government, government agencies, and the Armed Forces [1].

  • F. Allhoff, P. Lin, D. Moore, What is Nanotechnology and why does it matter? From Science to Ethics, West Sussex, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • S.J. Florczyk and S. Saha, “Ethical issues in nanotechnology,” J. Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 107-113,2007.
  • A. Krishnan, Military Neuroscience and the Coming of Neurowarfare, London, Routledge, 2017.
  • K. Michael, “Socio-ethical Implications of the Bionic Era”, Academy of Science in Australia, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOOgep8ery8, Shine Dome, Canberra, 25/05/17.
  • R.A. Miranda, W.D. Casebeer, A.M. Hein, J.W. Judy, E.P. Krotkov, T.L. Laabs, J.E. Manzo, K.G. Pankratz, G.A. Pratt, J.C. Sanchez, D.J. Weber, T.L. Wheeler, G.S.F. Ling, “DARPA-funded efforts in the development of novel brain-computer interface technologies,” Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol. 244, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165027014002702, 2015.
  • M. Murphy, “The US Military Is Developing Brain Implants to Boost Memory and Heal PTSD,” Defense One, 2015; http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/11/us-military-developing-brain-implants-boost-memory-and-heal-ptsd/123784/, 17/11/15.
  • M. Orcutt, “DARPA's New Neural Implant Has a Sneaky Way of Getting Inside Heads,” M.I.T. Tech. Rev., 2016; https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600761/darpas-new-neural-implant-has-a-sneaky-way-of-getting-inside-heads/, 09/02/16.
  • D. Ratner, M. Ratner, New Weapons for New Wars: Nanotechnology and Homeland Security, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 2004.
  • P.S. Saha and S. Saha, “Clinical trials of medical devices and implants: Ethical concerns,” IEEE Eng. Med. & Biol. Mag., vol. 7, pp. 86–87, 1988.
  • S. Saha and P. Saha, “Biomedical ethics and the biomedical engineer: A review,” Critical Reviews in Biomedical Eng., vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 163–201, 1988.
  • P. Tucker, “The Military Is Building Brain Chips to Treat PTSD,” The Atlantic, 2014; http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/the-military-is-building-brain-chips-to-treat-ptsd/371855/, 29/05/2014.

DARPA's RAM Project

In 2012, the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) confirmed plans to create nanosensors to monitor the health of soldiers on battlefields [2]. In 2014, ExtremeTech [3] reported on a 2013 DARPA project titled the “Restoring Active Memory (RAM) Project.” Ultimately the aim of RAM was:

“to develop a prototype implantable neural device that enables recovery of memory in a human clinical population. Additionally, the program encompasses the development of quantitative models of complex, hierarchical memories and exploration of neurobiological and behavioral distinctions between memory function using the implantable device versus natural learning and training” [4].

Several months later, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) published on their web site an article on how DARPA was developing wireless implantable brain prostheses for service members and veterans who had suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) memory loss [5]. Quoting here from the article:

“Called neuroprotheses, the implant would help declarative memory, which consciously recalls basic knowledge such as events, times and places…”
“these neuroprosthetics will be designed to bridge the gaps in the injured brain to help restore that memory function… Our vision is to develop neuroprosthetics for memory recovery in patients living with brain injury and dysfunction.”
“The neuroprosthetics developed and tested over the next four years would be as a wireless, fully implantable neural-interface medical device for human clinical use.”

The U.S. DOD also noted that traumatic brain injury has affected about 270 000 U.S. service members since 2000, and another 1.7 million civilians. The DOD said that they would begin to focus their attention on service members first [6]. Essentially the program is meant to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders, using electronic devices implanted in the brain. Treated disorders range from depression, to anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder [7]. The bulk of the15 million) and the University of Pennsylvania ($22.5 million), in collaboration with the Minneapolis-based biomedical device company Medtronic [8].

More Information

Visual proceedings of the 9th Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security, including powerpoint presentations, are available [9]. The workshop was held during the 2016 IEEE Norbert Wiener Conference, at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Several DARPA-funded neurologists from the Vascular Bionics Laboratory at the University of Melbourne were invited to present at the workshop, including a team led by Thomas Oxley, M.D. [10]. (Oxley did not personally appear as he was in the U.S. on a training course related to intensive neurosurgical training.)

The military implantable technologies field at large is fraught with bioethical implications. Many of these issues were raised at the Workshop, and remain unanswered. If there is going to be a significant investment in advancing new technologies for soldiers suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the military, there needs to be commensurate funding invested to address unforeseen challenges. In fact, it is still unclear whether U.S. service members must accept participation in experimental brain research if asked, or if they can decline in place of other nonintrusive medical help.

References

1. K. Michael, "Mental Health Implantables and Side Effects", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 5-17.

2. B. Unruh, "U.S. Military Developing Spychips for Soldiers", WND, [online] Available: http://www.wnd.com/2012/05/u-s-military-developing-spychlps-for-soldiers/.

3. S. Anthony, "US military begins work on brain implants that can restore lost memories experiences", ExtremeTech, [online] Available: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/176337-us-military-begins-work-on-brain-implants-that-can-restore-Iost-memories-experience.

4. "Restoring Active Memory (RAM)", [online] Available: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=925a0e2faf1c2e3c3782e1788fcc660d&tab=core&_cview=0.

5. T. M. Cronk, DARPA Developing Implants to Help with TBI Memory Loss, US Department of Defense.

6. T. M. Cronk, DARPA Developing Implants to Help with TBI Memory Loss, US Department of Defense.

7. John Hamilton, "Military Plans To Test Brain Implants To Fight Mental Disorders", Npr.org, [online] Available: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/27/316129491/military-plans-to-test-brain-implants-to-fight-mental-disorders.

8. Tanya Lewis, "US Military Developing Brain Implants to Restore Memory", LiveScience, [online] Available: http://www.livescience.com/46710-military-memory-brain-implants.html.

9. K. Michael, M.G. Michael, J.C. Galliot, R. Nicholls, "The Socio-Ethical Implications of Implantable Technologies in the Military Sector", The Ninth Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security (SINS16).

 10. "Minimally Invasive “Stentrode” Shows Potential as Neural Interface for Brain: Implantable device repurposes stent technology to enable direct recording from neurons", Darpa.mil, [online] Available: http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-02-08.

 

Citation: Katina Michael, M.G. Michael, Jai C. Galliot, Rob Nicholls, "Socio-Ethical Implications of Implantable Technologies in the Military Sector", 15 March 2017, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 7-9, 10.1109/MTS.2017.2670219.

IEEE Keywords: Special issues and sections, Military communication, Military technology, Implantable biomedical devices, Nanotechnology

INSPEC: ethical aspects, nanofabrication, night vision, radiofrequency identification, social sciences, implantable technologies socio-ethical implication, military sector, nanotechnology, internal assessment committee, RFID implant, fabrication process, military marketplace, night vision,durability, super-soldier

Gone Fishing

 Figure 1. Packing for a full month away. Everything but the kitchen sink.

Figure 1. Packing for a full month away. Everything but the kitchen sink.

On the 9th of December in 2015, I set out for a camping trip with my three young children to the Sapphire Coast of Australia, toward the New South Wales and Victorian border (Figure 1). The last time I had driven through this stunning part of the world, was when my parents decided to take their four children across country in a Ford Cortina station wagon to visit their first cousins on apricot and citrus farms in South Australia.

I turned eight years of age over that summer, and the memories of that trip are etched into our hearts. We've laughed countless times over events on that holiday, all of which were borne from a “lack of access” to technology, resulting in “close-ess” and “togetherness.” Loxton, South Australia, only had two television channels back then-the ABC news, and 5A which showed endless games and replays of cricket. While we grew to love cricket — we had no choice - we welcomed every opportunity to physically help our cousins gather fruit using nothing but ladders and our bare hands.

It was the festive season, and I remember lots and lots of family gatherings, parties, and outdoor lamb-spit barbecues. We gathered to eat, and dance, and our elders reminisced over what life was like in the village in Greece, and tell us funny stories about growing up with hardly any material possessions. Highlights included: when a photographer visited the village once every other year to take pictures with his humungous boxed contraption, which he would hide behind; the memory of the first time a car was spotted trying to come into the village; walking to school one hour away with shoes made out of goat skin (if not barefoot); and the harsh unheated winters and boiling hot summers over scenic Sparta.

It was a kind of celebration of life when I think back. It was so carefree, clean and pure, and joyous! Everyone lived in the moment. No one took pictures of their food to post to Instagram, no one had their head buried in front of a screen watching YouTube on demand, and we were outside in the fresh air awestruck by the beauty of the glistening stars that shone so bright in the night sky (and getting bitten by mosquitos while doing so). It was a kind of SnapChat without the “Snap.” On that trip I gained an appreciation for the land, and its importance in sustaining us as human beings.

As I reflect on that time, we travelled through remote parts of Australia with nothing but ourselves. We were too poor to stay at hotels, so dad ingeniously turned our station-wagon into a caravan, or so it seemed to us when the back seat folded forward and the travelling bags were placed on the roof rack secured with a blue tarpaulin.

 Figure 2. The great Australian outdoor toilet, proverbially known as a “dunny” Used in one camp site the kids endearingly nicknamed “Kalaru Poo.”

Figure 2. The great Australian outdoor toilet, proverbially known as a “dunny” Used in one camp site the kids endearingly nicknamed “Kalaru Poo.”

We had no mobile phone in the car, no portable wifi-enabled tablet, no gaming DS, and certainly no down-screen DVD player or in-car navigation system to interrupt the ebb and flow of a family confined to a small space for six weeks. Mum would put on a few Greek cassettes for us to sing along to (Dad's “best ofs” which he had dubbed from the radio), and we paid particular attention to the landscape and wildlife. Mum would tell stories nostalgically about the time before we were born and how she left her homeland at seventeen on her own. And dad would talk about the struggles of losing his mother just before the start of World War II, and how his schooling was interrupted in third class as towns were burned to the crisp by the invaders, and how lucky we were to have a chance at education in a peaceful nation. All the while my brother Arthur was pointing at how far we had driven with his AO mapliterally thousands of kilometres-which gave me a great sense of space and time that has stayed with me to this day. And of course, I do recollect the unforgettable chant of my little sister and big sister in near unison, “are we there yet?”

Last December 2015, after a demanding year in my various roles that included bi-monthly long-haul travel, I was determined to “shut down” the outside world, and give my children what my parents had given me, in all the same simplicity (Figure 2). I somehow needed to give my children my full attention for a four-week duration without a laptop in tow, ensuring that my body and mind would recover from the year that was. I knew I was drifting into overload in September 2015, when on one occasion, I found myself asking my husband which side of the road I should be driving on, even when I was in my home town.

 Figure 3. The most spectacular and secluded Nelson Beach down the trail of Nelson Lake Rd near Mogareeka, NSW.

Figure 3. The most spectacular and secluded Nelson Beach down the trail of Nelson Lake Rd near Mogareeka, NSW.

 Figure 4. My youngest walking near the most spectacular Wallagoot Gap. We spent the day out at this magical place, swimming with the fish.

Figure 4. My youngest walking near the most spectacular Wallagoot Gap. We spent the day out at this magical place, swimming with the fish.

When one loves life and what they do, it is easy to feel so energized that you don't feel the need to stop… but “stop” I did. I wanted to reconnect with the natural environment in a big way, with my kids, and my inner self. I found myself asking those deep questions about creation - who, what, when, how? What an incredible world we live in! How does it all work and hang together as it does? I felt so thankful. Thankful for my family, my friends, my work, nature, life, Australia. It is so easy to take it for granted.

Each day, we'd choose a different place to visit, not excluding unsealed roads that led to secluded beaches, lakes, and inlets (Figures 3 and 4). Every morning we were awakened by the birdlife - a strange creature would call out at 4:30 a.m. for about 15 minutes straight, and then give it a rest; spotted lizards a few meters long on the road, and lots of kangaroos coming out of hiding at dusk to socialize. While we swam we could see the fish in the sea (with and without snorkels), and we got to speak with complete strangers, feeling like we had all the time in the world to do so.

At historical places, we learned about indigenous people like “King Billy” of the Yuin clan who would often be seen walking unheard distances in the 1950s in the dense shrub between Jervis Bay and Eden − 300 km (Figure 5).

 

 Figure 5. The Yuin people (aka Thurga) are the Australian Aborigines from the South Coast of New South Wales. At top are images of legendary “King Billy” as he was nicknamed.

Figure 5. The Yuin people (aka Thurga) are the Australian Aborigines from the South Coast of New South Wales. At top are images of legendary “King Billy” as he was nicknamed.

My kids began to make comments about how resourceful the aborigines would have been, catching fresh fish, making new walking tracks, and being blessed to live in a pristine world before the built environment changed it so radically (Figure 5). It was not difficult for me to imagine throwing in my current lifestyle for the serenity, peace, and tranquillity of the bush. The kids and I would be outside under the sun for at least 12 hours each day, and it was effortless and filled with activities, and so very much fulfilling (Figure 6).

  Figure 6.  The sun setting on New Year's Eve celebrations in 2015 in Merimbula, NSW

Figure 6. The sun setting on New Year's Eve celebrations in 2015 in Merimbula, NSW

 Figure 7. Pre-bedtime entertainment in our tent. Another game of Snakes & Ladders anyone?

Figure 7. Pre-bedtime entertainment in our tent. Another game of Snakes & Ladders anyone?

The kids didn't watch any television on this trip even though they had access to it in one camp spot (Figure 7). I spoke on the cell phone only a handful of times, and on some days I did not use electricity (they were my favorite days). Many times we did not have any cell phone coverage for large parts of the day. I learnt some important things about each of my children on this trip and about myself and the world we live in (Figure 8). And I'd love to do it all again, sooner than later.

We've been sold the idea that technology provides security for us but I am of the opinion that at least psychologically it leads to insecurity (1). It is a paradox. My eldest kept asking what we would do if we got a flat tire or engine trouble deep down a dirt road where we had no connectivity, or what we'd do in the event of a bushfire (Figure 9). Good questions I thought, and answered them by driving more slowly and carefully, avoiding sharp rocks and potholes, and more than anything, turning to prayer “God, keep me and my children safe. Help us not to panic at a time of trouble, and to know what to do. Help us not to be harmed. And help us not to have fear.” For all intense and purposes, technology which has been sold to us for security, breeds a false sense of security and even greater fear. We have learned to rely on mobile phones or the Internet, even when we don't need them. It has become a knee-jerk reaction, even if we have the stored information at hand readily available.

 

 Figure 8. The kids posing for a photo with a big snail at Merimbula's Main Beach. Such a great opportunity for all of us to bond even closer together.

Figure 8. The kids posing for a photo with a big snail at Merimbula's Main Beach. Such a great opportunity for all of us to bond even closer together.

I am thankful I turned to art on this trip - a decision I made a few days before I left my home (see cover image of this issue). I loved speaking to real people, in person, and asking them to participate (2). Being able to hear their laughs, and see the expressions on their faces, and listen to their respective stories was so satisfying. On a few occasions I embraced people I met after opening my heart to life matters, challenges, joys, and sorrows. The cool thing? I met lots of people that reminded me of my mum and dad; lots of people who had three or four or more (or no) children - and felt connected more than ever before to the big family we call “society.” We'd sit around at the beach, at the rock pool, or the camp site, listening and learning from one another, and somehow indirectly encouraging one another onwards. We soon realized these were shared experiences and there was a solidarity, a “oneness,” an empathy between us.

 Figure 9. Going down a steep and narrow unsealed road with lots of potholes at Mimosa Rocks National Park. One way down and only one way up.

Figure 9. Going down a steep and narrow unsealed road with lots of potholes at Mimosa Rocks National Park. One way down and only one way up.

We returned home a few days early due to heavy rains, and unexpectedly I did not feel the drive to return to my email trove that I figured had grown substantially in size. The thought crossed my mind that I could get heavily depressed over the thousands of messages I had missed. But I controlled that temptation. The last thing I wanted at that point was to get bogged down again in the rhythm of the digital world. Friends and colleagues might have been shocked that I did as I said I would do - utterly disconnect - but I learned something very fundamental… time away from the screen makes us more human as it inevitably brings us closer together, closer to nature, and also brings things into perspective.

Depending on our work, we can feel captive behind the screen at times, or at least to the thousands of messages that grace our laptops and mobile phones. They make us even more digital and mechanical - in intonation, action, even movement and thought. Breaking with this feeling and regaining even a little bit of control back is imperative every so often, lest we become machine-like ourselves. It is healthy to be “Just human,” without the extensions and the programs. In fact, it is essential to revitalize us and help us find our place in the world, as sometimes technology leads us too quickly ahead of even ourselves.

While it is an intuitive thing to do, you might find yourself having to work that little bit harder to make the unplugged time happen. But breaking free of all the tech (and associated expectations) occasionally, reinforces what it once meant to be human.

References

1. M. Lacy, "Cities of panic and siege psychosis" in Security Technology and Global Politics: Thinking with Virilio, New York, NY:Routledge, pp. 69f, 2014.

2. K. Michael, "Unintended consequences 1–100", [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/call-for-papers/2016/1/14/unintended-consequences-1-100-artwork.

Citation: Katina Michael, "Gone Fishing: Breaking with the Biometric Rhythm of Tech-Centricism", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine ( Volume: 35, Issue: 4, Dec. 2016 ), pp. 6 - 9, Date of Publication: 19 December 2016, DOI: 10.1109/MTS.2016.2618738.

Unintended Consequences: A Study Guide

  ©CREATIVE COMMONS/XYAN BHATNAGAR

©CREATIVE COMMONS/XYAN BHATNAGAR

Now that you've immersed yourself in some of the challenges and paradoxes we face as a society (as our cities, businesses, governments, and personal lives become more digitized), it is time to reflect on everything you've read.

As much as we hope you've enjoyed this collection of articles, we really want you to find value in the discussions and debates that come from it. We have included some questions to get you started. Remember, there often isn't one right answer. These issues are complex. Sometimes the best answer to a challenging question is simply to ask more questions; to interrogate the issues at hand, using a multidisciplinary lens. So consider these questions a launch pad that will inspire you to ask your own questions, too. Share your questions with your peers in small groups and seek to brainstorm together on what possible future directions you can take to ensure these matters are integrated into development frameworks.

We thank the authors in this issue for assistance in drawing out these major themes.

“Valuations and Human Values (A.K.A. the Irony of Granola Bar Economics)”

  1. Why did people throw rocks at the Google bus? Were the people on the buses really the targets of their animosity?
  2. According to Rushkoff, growth is the prevalent feature of the digital economy. What impact does that have on companies? What impact does that have on workers? What impact does that have on neighborhoods and communities?
  3. Is there a way to keep the possibilities that digital tools afford, without the commensurate detrimental effects? What solutions are there?

“Let's Protest: Surprises in Communicating against Repression”

  1. Select a social networking application (e.g., Snapchat). What are its strengths and weaknesses for serving ordinary users and nonviolent campaigners?
  2. Suppose you are put in charge of a country's technology policy today. What communication technology would you promote to ensure that a dictator could never come to power? Explain your reasoning.
  3. Imagine that you want to assist some foreign friends who live under an authoritarian government. You can mainly help by using the Internet. What skills do you think are most important for you to learn? You might reflect on the possibilities of learning foreign languages' encryption, Web design, data collection, data verification, organizing denial-of-service attacks, and hacking. How will these skills help your friends specifically?

“Predictive Policing and Civilian Oversight”

  1. Would you trust software more than you would a law enforcement officer?

  2. Who should be held responsible when the software described in the article by Hirsh makes a mistake or is in error?

  3. Should there be limits to how police use technology?

  4. What do you think is required to balance the needs of policing and the needs of privacy?

“The Converging Veillances: Border Crossings in an Interconnected World”

  1. List the consequences of the converging veillances. What are additional sociocultural consequences of these risks not addressed by the authors?
  2. What existing controls are in place to address the risks you have identified? How effective are these controls in the design and operation phases of development?
  3. What are responsible, reasonable, and appropriate strategies to reduce the prevalence of the risks you have identified?

“Privacy in Public”

  1. Describe the concept of “über-veillance” or omnipresent surveillance. How does it differ from “regular” surveillance?
  2. What is the “mosaic” theory of privacy? Explain why such a theory is necessary today.
  3. Taking one of your regular school or work days as an example, list in chronological order all of your encounters with cameras as you go about your day. Are you surprised by how many you can count? Why or why not?
  4. Thinking about the example of the interface created by Google to allow people to request the removal of their personal information, list similar privacy-protective technological measures that are avail-able on social media, such as Facebook.
  5. Do you agree that people in a public space should have a right to privacy and anonymity, or do they give up such rights once they enter the public sphere?

“Privacy in the Age of the Smartphone”

  1. What do you share with others online? Do you have a Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other account?
  2. What parts of the information that you share with others is beyond your control? For example, who has access to your Facebook page—just your friends on Facebook, or is it public? What other sharing do you engage in that can be accessed by people you don't know?
  3. Smartphones have become much more powerful in the last few years. How has your data footprint grown over the last two to three years?
  4. What new services are you using today that you were not using in your first year of university? Has the volume of data and content that you share increased significantly? Do you feel you can still keep track of and manage that data?

“Paradoxes in Information Security”

  1. Think of your everyday life. In what ways do information security procedures interrupt you on a daily basis?
  2. In terms of information systems that you use, who and what define what security is?
  3. Any incremental additional function, including information security, to an information system increases its complexity but also adds new ways of using and exploiting it. Can complexities that are constantly changing be controlled in any way?

“International Council on Global Privacy and Security”

  1. Why is it important that we abandon zero-sum paradigms if we intend to preserve our privacy and freedom?
  2. Beyond privacy concerns, what impact does state surveillance have on innovation and prosperity, at a societal level?
  3. Why is it important that artificial intelligence and machine learning have privacy embedded into the algorithms used, by design?

“Problems with Moral Intuitions Regarding Technologies”

  1. How often do you stop and think about the moral implications of the technologies you use?
  2. Have you ever experienced a technology feeling wrong or right?
  3. Are for-profit corporations the ideal developers and suppliers of technology?
  4. Should the ones who know how it does work think more about how it should or should not work?
  5. Is technology neutral? Can it be moral or immoral?

IEEE Keywords: Technological innovation, Technology forecasting, Social implications of technology, Social factors, Human factors, Ethics, Privacy

INSPEC: social sciences, human values, unintended consequences, study guide, repression, civilian oversight

Citation: Ramona Pringle, Katina Michael, M.G. Michael, 2015, IEEE Potentials, Volume: 35, Issue: 5, Sept.-Oct. 2016, pp. 47 - 48, Date of Publication: 08 September 2016, DOI: 10.1109/MPOT.2016.2569758

Can Good Standards Propel Unethical Technologies?

Between 2010 and 2016 I accepted a voluntary post representing the Consumers Federation of Australia (CFA) on the standardization of the forensic analysis process [1]. The CFA represents most major Australian national consumer organizations that work together to represent consumer rights.

The committee I was on was Standards Australia's “CH041 — Forensic Analysis” focused on the collection, analysis, and storage of materials as well as interpretation and reporting of results for forensic purposes (Figure 1). The Committee's scope included digital forensics, DNA, soil examination, toxicology, document examination, audio and video analysis, drug analysis, blood alcohol examination, chemical trace evidence, clandestine laboratory investigations, fire and explosion investigation, ballistics, forensic biology, forensic botany, crime scene investigation, fingerprint identification, vehicle examination, shoe and tire impressions, toolmarks, evidence recovery, exhibit storage, bloodstain pattern interpretation, forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, forensic odontology, and forensic pathology. Over a period of six years, six standards were created in the Australia and New Zealand landscape [2] (Table 1).

 Figure 1. Bus drivers across the West Midlands were equipped with mini DNA kits in 2012 to help police track anyone who spit at them or fellow passengers.“Spit kits”—which feature swabs, gloves and hermetically sealed bags—allow staff to take saliva samples and protect them from contamination before being sent for forensic analysis. Samples are stored in a refrigerator before being sent for forensics analysis, with arrest plans put in place should returning DNA results point to a suspect already known to police.Date: Nov. 23, 2012, 16:03. Courtesy of Palnatoke, West Midlands Police.

Figure 1. Bus drivers across the West Midlands were equipped with mini DNA kits in 2012 to help police track anyone who spit at them or fellow passengers.“Spit kits”—which feature swabs, gloves and hermetically sealed bags—allow staff to take saliva samples and protect them from contamination before being sent for forensic analysis. Samples are stored in a refrigerator before being sent for forensics analysis, with arrest plans put in place should returning DNA results point to a suspect already known to police.Date: Nov. 23, 2012, 16:03. Courtesy of Palnatoke, West Midlands Police.

All of the meetings I attended were very well organized, and provided adequate materials with enough time to digest documentation. Queries were dealt with in a very professional manner both via email and in person. The location of these standards meetings happened at the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) in Melbourne Victoria — perhaps a non-neutral location, but regardless important as a hub for our gatherings. There was adequate funding provided to allow people to come together several times a year to discuss the development of the standards and the rest was achieved via email correspondence. Of course, there were a number of eminent leaders in the group with a discernible agenda that dominated discussions, but for all intents and purposes, these folks were well-meaning, fair, and willing to listen. It was obvious that the standardization process was paramount to those using forensic data on a day-to-day basis.

Representatives who served on that committee had diverse backgrounds: police officers, analysts from forensic laboratories, lawyers, statisticians, consumer representatives, and academics in the broad area. I never felt like I was ever asking a redundant question, people spent time explaining things no matter how technical or scientific the content. Members of the committee were willing to hear about consumer perspectives when key points had to be raised, but for some the importance of the topic was circumvented by the need to get the forensics right in order for criminals to be brought to justice.

In March of 2010, I graduated with my Masters of Transnational Crime Prevention degree in the Faculty of Law at the University of Wollongong. My major project was a study of the European Court of Human Rights ruling S. and Marper v. The United Kingdom [3], under the supervision of former British law enforcement officer, Associate Professor Clive Harfield. The European Court of Human Rights sitting as a Grand Chamber was led by President Jean-Paul Costa. S. and Marper complained under Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights [4] that the authorities had continued to retain their fingerprints and cellular samples and DNA profiles after the criminal proceedings against them had ended with an acquittal or had been discontinued. Both applicants had asked for their fingerprints and DNA samples to be destroyed, but in both cases the police refused [5]. My involvement in the enactment of forensic standards in the Australian landscape was to ensure that Australia did not end up with blanket coverage surveillance of the populace, as has happened in the United Kingdom where about 6 million people (1 in 11) have their DNA stored on the national DNA database (NDNA), and over 37% of black ethnic minorities (BEM) are registered on the database with indefinite DNA retention of samples or profiles [6].

I learned a lot about standards setting through the Forensic Analysis project. Although I had studied the theoretical importance of standards in the process of innovation, and I had spent some time in an engineering organization during a peak period of telecommunications standards and protocol developments, I never quite realized that a standard could propel a particular product or process further than was ever intended. Of course the outcome of the BETAMAX versus VHS war has gone down in engineering folklore [7], but when standards have human rights implications, they take on a far greater importance.

Although international standards usually take a long time to bring into existence (at least 2 years), at the national level if there is monetary backing, and a large enough number of the right kind of people in a room with significant commercial or government drivers, a standard can be defined in a fairly straightforward manner within about 1 year. No matter the query, issues can usually be addressed or abated by industry representatives if you can spend the time necessary on problem solving and troubleshooting. Consumer representatives on standards panels, however, unlike paid professionals, have very limited resources and bandwidth when it comes to innovation. They usually have competing interests; a life outside the standards environment that they are contributing to, and thus fall short from the full impact they could make in any committee that they serve if there was financial support. In the commercial world, the greater the opportunity cost of forgoing the development of a standard, the greater the driver to fulfil the original intent.

And thus, I was asked at the completion of my CFA role by the convenor Regina Godfredson, Standards Co-ordinator of the CFA Standards Projects, whether or not I had any thoughts about future standards because “standards” were one thing that the CFA received funding for, in terms of the voluntary contributions of its representatives and membership being seconded to standards committees.

 Table 1. Forensic analysis — Australian standards.

Table 1. Forensic analysis — Australian standards.

As Regina and I brainstormed, I described a few projects pertaining to emerging technologies that required urgent attention from the consumer perspective. But the one that stuck out in my mind as requiring standardization was non-medical implants in humans (Figure 2). I kept thinking about the event report I cited in 2007 published on the MAUDE database of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) web site, for the “removal of an implant” that acted as a personal health record (PHR) unique ID [8]. In 2004, the company VeriChip had an implant device approved by the FDA for use in humans [9]. The device was to be inserted in the right tricep, but as applications for access control and electronic payment were trialled, the device soon found itself in people's wrists and hands for usability [10]. Still that event report had got me thinking. How could a company (or for that matter a government administration) be so inept in creating a device for implantation with no removal process? Of course, had the VeriChip device not been related to any health application, it would not have required any FDA approval whatsoever, which is equally problematic when ethical questions are considered.

7563959-fig-2-small.gif

Figure 2.

A surgeon implants British scientist Dr. Mark Gasson in his left hand with an RFID microchip (Mar. 16, 2009). Mark's Ph.D. scholarship with Prof. Kevin Warwick was sponsored by the author's former employer Nortel Networks. Photo taken: March 16, 2009, 14:44:22. Photo courtesy of Paul Hughes.

The questions that stem from this mini case are numerous. But perhaps the most important one is: does a standard set by a standards or regulatory body open the floodgates to propelling a given innovation forward, even if that innovation is controversial or even viewed as risky or unethical by the community at large? I had to ask myself the pros and cons of spearheading such a standard into Australia and New Zealand. Standards at the local level begin to gather momentum when they are recognized by the Australian Standards organization, but more so when they are picked up and highlighted by the International Standards Organisation (ISO). There are also no commensurate “ethics applications” accompanying the submission of human augmentation devices, as noted by Joe Carvalko, a U.S.-based patent attorney and implant recipient [11].

Did I really wish to be involved in such a process when I believe deeply, for anything other than therapeutics and prosthesis, there should not be a standard? Do I think this is the future of e-payments being sold to us? There have been countless campaigns by VISA to show us the “mini-Visa” [12] or the contactless VISA “tap and go” system or the VISA embedded in our phone or e-wallet or even smartwatch. Do I think we should believe the companies pushing this next phase? No, I do not. As consumers we do have a choice of whether or not to adopt. As a technology professional do I wish to be the one to propel this forward? Absolutely not. Does it mean it will never happen? No, it doesn't.

As I continued my conversation with Regina Godfredson, I realized deeply, that while CFA would get some major attention in funding for being leaders in this space, the negative would be that we would also be heavily responsible and accountable for what would come out of the group as we would be the driving force behind it. The consumer side of me says “get in there quick to contribute to the discussion and push the importance of ethics within an information technology implant scenario.” The academic side of me says sit back and let someone else do it, but make sure to be ready for when this may take place (and it is taking place right now). Just yesterday, I received a telephone call from one of Japan's leading games suppliers who wants to integrate the human augmentation scenario into Deus Ex's, “Mankind Divided” game, to be launched in Australia in the last week of August with an implants shopfront.

The conversation with the publicist went something like this: “Hello Katina. I note you are one of the leading researchers on the topic of the socio-legal-ethical implications of implants. Look, I want to know, if there are any legal issues with us launching a campaign for our new game that includes an implantation shop. I've rung everyone I can think of, and everyone keeps passing me on to someone else and cannot give me a direct answer. I've tried the Therapeutic Goods Administration here, but they say they don't care because it is not a medical device. I've looked up laws, and I can't seem to find anything on implants for non-medical applications. I've spoken to police, and ditto they don't seem to care. So what do you think?” It goes without saying that that 50 minute conversation ended up being one of the most stimulating non-academic discussions I've had on the topic. But also, I finished by saying read Katherine Albrecht's Bodily Integrity Act in draft since 2007. The publicist kept stating: “I hope from this engagement to put forward a framework allowing for human implants.”

My concern with going forward has naught to do with my ability to answer very complex biomedical ethical questions as I've thought about them for over 20 years. My concern has much to do with whether or not we should even be dabbling with all of this, knowing what we know of the probable uberveillance trajectory. I am sure I could create some very good standards to some very unethical value-laden technologies.

I will not say much about what is an ethical or unethical technology. I will simply say that pervasive technologies have an intentionality, and they have inherent qualities that can be used positively or negatively. Talking to social shaping of technology experts, I would be labeled as a follower of the technological determinist school of thought. But clearly here, when we investigate the piercing of the skin, we have a complexity that we've never before faced in the non-medical commercial space. It crosses the boundaries of negligence, consent, and human rights, which we cannot ignore or treat as just another run-of-the-mill technological innovation.

References

1. Consumers Federation of Australia, [online] Available: http://consumersfederation.org.au/.

2. CH-041 - Forensic Analysis, [online] Available: http://www.sdpp.standards.org.au/ActiveProjects.aspx?CommitteeNumber=CH-041&CommitteeName=forensic%20Analysis.

3. Case of S. and Marper v. The United Kingdom, 2008, [online] Available: https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/dataprotection/Judgrnents/S.%20AND%20MARPER%20v.%20THE%20UNITED%20KING-DOM%20EN.pdf.

4. Article 8 ECHR, 2016, [online] Available: http//echr-online.into/article-8-echr/.

5. K. Michael, , "The road from S and Marper to the Prum Treaty and the implications on human rights" in Cross-Border Law Enforcement: Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation - European Australian and Asia-Pacific Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 243-258, 2012.

6. K. Michael, "The legal social and ethical controversy of the collection and storage of fingerprint profiles and DNA samples in forensic science", pp. 48-60, 2010.

7. A.R. Dennis, B.A. Reinicke, "Beta versus VHS and the acceptance of electronic brainstorming technology", MIS Quart, vol. 28, pp. 1-20, 2004.

8. MAUDE Adverse Event Report VeriChip Corporation - VeriMed Patient Identificator - VeriChip Implant, July 2007, [online] Available: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfMAUDE/Detail.CfM?MDRFOI_ID=962453.

9. 21 CFR Part 880 [Docket No. 2004N-0477] Medical Devices; General Hospital and Personal Use Devices; Classification of Implantable Radiofrequency Transponder System for Patient Identification and Health Information, [online] Available: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/98fr/04-27077.htm.

10. A. Masters, K. Michael, "Lend me your arms: The use and implications of humancentric RFID", Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, vol. 6, pp. 29-39, 2007.

11. J. Carvalko, K. Michael, "Crossing The Evolutionary Gap", Joseph Carvalko Speaks With Katina MichaelOn His Fiction Piece, July 2016, [online] Available: https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4JyVCba6VM.

12. "Visa introduces contactless mini card making payments faster and more convenient than ever", Business Wire, Aug. 2006, [online] Available: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20060316005263/en/Visa-Introduces-Contactless-Mini-Card-Making-Payments.

Citation: Katina Michael, Can Good Standards Propel Unethical Technologies? IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Volume: 35, Issue: 3, Sept. 2016, pp. 6 - 9.