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.

 

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.

Converging and coexisting systems towards smart surveillance

Automatic identification technologies, CCTV cameras, pervasive and mobile networks, wearable computing, location-based services and social networks have traditionally served distinct purposes. However, we have observed patterns of integration, convergence and coexistence among all these innovations within the information and communication technology industry.

Read More