June 12, 2012 at 6:33 am, by Carl
So, last time I told you about the likely outcome of new technology related to location awareness, map reading and the great liklihood that “Big Brother” will be watching. It should be noted that while Orwell’s Big Brother was the government, I think it just as likely that the “Big Brother” of our near future will be corporations. Sadly, many today have decided that corporations are supposedly innocent of any evil and as such, they of course would do no harm by always knowing where you were.
Right. So, you don’t believe that either?
Well, have you turned off your smartphone? Or, have you given Google access to all of your documents?
In any case, I was telling you about the Fast Company posts that seem to not realize just how dangerous the technology is becoming. So, the next day, their blog breathlessly exclaimed how exciting it was that Nokia and Microsoft are going to (finally) make you cut up all your credit cards. Why? Because of the thrill it will be to have all of our financial transactions done by “Near Field Communication” technology (NCF, for short). Part of the excitement about these new phones includes this: ”But the 610′s not a one-trick pony, and in addition to its price point it also has another new attractor: wireless payment and tag-reading technology.”
This is not a new worry for me. I told you back in May of last year that a threat to financial literacy was that we were clearly heading digital. “It all goes in digitally. It all goes out digitally. You purchase most things with a credit or debit card. You literally have no good idea how much money you have or where it is. All of this leads to a relaxed view of purchasing and desire” But the challenge isn’t just that its hard to track, but that digital means you can’t really control it like you can actual dollars in your hand.
Worse, if the money is all digital, as Wired Magazine has been proclaiming for at least the past 10 years (I would say they seem to be HOPING this happens), then it can be controlled.
Not by you!!
It can be shifted and tweaked, changed, removed. Gone. I know that seems dysopian, and I guess it is—-we must wake to realize that the more we give away control, the worse things become for humans. It is bad enough that when something tangible is removed from the concept of value—that I have to give you X to receive Y, and thus I have to determine is Y worth it to me to give away X—that people lose the ability to control their lives. That is bad enough. I can already see increasing debt exploding as more and more young adults simply have no idea that by flashing their smartphone to buy a Coke, to get some gum, to purchase a book or get a concert ticket, they are sinking deeper and deeper into a consumer debt hole from which there is no escape.
That is bad enough, but its not the kicker. The real issue is that the likelihood is great that all money supply can be controlled by a few simple clicks of a computer. If it can be done, then it will be done. Now spin that even darker…imagine a world where you HAVE to have a certain smartphone or all purchases MUST be made through the NFC that Fast Company loves.
Not a pretty picture where I sit. Sure, I know that some of you can see the Christian “Anti-Christ” mark of the beast issue. That is possible–I have warned about that too related to technology, as far back as the late 1990s, long before the term “smartphone” was ever uttered. Yet, I am not raising the specter here (at least not yet). All I am saying that it is easily possible to see a near-future where the government could declare quite easily that all purchasing must be done via this one certain way, and that all other options (your actual credit card, cash, even bartering) were illegal.
I know its not a pretty picture, but just wait till the next post.