Yesterday I read in the news http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10486868 that they are looking at implanting security tags into criminals to allow them to keep track of them. They would then be able to locate them using Satellite GPS and other technologies. These RFID chips would contain information about offenders and allow them to be monitored on demand. This is a next generation development of ID tags used to track animals.
This is just one example of SF becoming a reality and is just the first step towards the potential for a Big Brother society that writers like Philip K Dick envisioned in some cases more than 50 years ago. Even in New Zealand our prison populations are growing faster than we can manage and more and more people are getting off with Home Detention requiring and anklets are becoming the fashion to make sure people on detention don’t leave their homes.
It doesn’t take much imagination to think forward to a day where one of these little devices are implanted into children shortly after birth, along with the collection of DNA samples and stem cells from their umbilical chords. This is not an if, it is a when, and it is not too far in the future.
In an ideal world, we can think of all the good reasons for this. Crime would be reduced as it would be much harder to get away without leaving easy to track evidence. Missing children would become a thing of the past and life expectancy will increase exponentially. In a democratic world where information will not be misused we could end up in Utopia.
Unfortunately, again as predicted by Sci-Fi writers we live in a world where corruption in politics is rife and that human trait of greed and hunger for power means that it would be very simple for people to find and round up ‘dissidents’ and keep everyone in their place. I expect that we will experience the good and the bad and given the pace of change, this will happen in our lifetimes.