June 30, 2008
Life extension technology, artificial intelligence, and an expansive "internet of things" are just a few of the topics that the latest report from the National Intelligence Council, "Disruptive Civil Technologies - Six Technologies with Potential Impacts on US Interests out to 2025".
Earlier reports from the CIA and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense have carried similar themes. The December 2000 CIA report, Global Trends 2015 stated that nation’s borders would weaken in the process of globalization, with an elite reaping the benefits, "Scenario Two: Pernicious Globalization Global elites thrive, but the majority of the world’s population fails to benefit from globalization… migration becomes a major source of interstate tension… Internal conflicts increase, fueled by frustrated expectations, inequities, and heightened communal tensions…" The MoD strategic trends 2007-2036
report covers life extension technologies, stating that a divide may rise between those who can afford to extend their lifespan, such as dictatorial rulers, "Developments in genetics might allow treatment of the symptoms of ageing and this would result in greatly increased life expectancy for those who could afford it. The divide between those that could afford to ‘buy longevity’ and those that could not, could aggravate perceived global inequality. Dictatorial or despotic rulers could potentially also ‘buy longevity’, prolonging their regimes and international security risks." The National Intelligence Council’s
latest report outlines trends in technology that will shape the world to come in 2025. Among the technologies covered is the development of the Internet of Things. The Internet of things, also often referred to as "ubiquitous computing" is currently being tested and showcased in South Korea, where the technology developers admit that there are less expectations of privacy. The Internet of Things (IoT) will enable the tracking and tracing of everyday objects
and people in a vast network similar to the internet. Ultimately, the "U-City" model of South Korea will be exported world-wide. PR campaigns for the U-City are already underway in the United States. Watch this ABC News clip as the "convenience" of the technology is emphasized:
The NIC report on the internet of things states that by 2010, the ability for "Teleoperation and telepresence: ability to monitory and control distant objects" will be achieved. Among the various goals of the Internet of Things technology developers include: "Sensor networks need not be connected to the Internet and indeed often reside in remote sites, vehicles, and buildings having no Internet connection. Smart dust is a term that some have used to express a vision of tiny, wireless-connected sensors; more recently, others use the term to describe any of several technologies that range from the size of a pack of gum to a pack of
cigarettes, and that are widely available to system developers. Ubiquitous positioning describes technologies for locating objects that may reside anywhere, including indoors and underground locations where satellite signals may be unavailable or otherwise inadequate. Biometrics enables technology to recognize people and other living things, rather than inanimate objects. Connected everyday objects could recognize authorized users by means of fingerprint, voiceprint, iris scan, or other biometric technology." The use of RFID tags embedded in everyday objects is the standard approach to achieving the internet of things vision. But, perhaps ominously, technology is being developed that would actually eliminate the need for RFID tags, while still allowing for the tracking of objects and people with the same efficiency. "Machine Vision", as the NIC report states, "…could be a channel for delivering the same type of information that RFIDs enable." "Machine vision is
an approach to the IoT that can monitor objects having no onboard sensors,
controllers, or wireless interfaces. For example, some developers propose
that cameras on typical cell phones can capture images of objects; using
image-processing algorithms, distant servers can identify such objects
and report information about them. In other words, machine vision could
be a channel for delivering the same type of information that RFIDs
enable." The surveillance element of this
technology will allow for "…everyday objects to be channels for
surveillance, consumer surveys, measuring environmental-quality benchmarks,
and any other continuously changing dimension of the world that people
find valuable to track." There can be little doubt
that a surveillance grid has been erected and is expanding every day.
The next upgrade to this tracking grid will undoubtedly be spun with a
"consumer convenience" approach.
Posted by Michael Difensore at 5:33 AM