Americans will forever be lining up to experience the most innovative, cutting edge bits and pieces of the technological puzzle. It’s just in our DNA.
Americans are explorers by nature, having been regaled by tales of Manifest Destiny, the Wild West, and Lewis & Clark our whole lives. These are the romantic stories that we pass on from generation to generation, of men and women living off the map, off the grid, and possibly a little out of their minds. But, it was all for the sake of innovation; something that We The People certainly like to take a whole lot of pride in.
At times, however, some of these boundaries to the future world seem a bit perplexing.
For instance, the advent of the RFID-installed credit and debit cards that your bank has surely wrangled you into using. The chip tracks a number of external factors, other than simply registering banking data, making the system rife for abuse, according to experts.
RFID-blocking wallets are designed to help insulate you from a very particular brand of electronic pickpocketing, called RFID skimming. The concern is that some credit cards, passports, and driver’s licenses now come with embedded radio frequency identification chips. When activated by an RFID reader, these chips transmit certain types of information wirelessly, so that you can verify your identity or even make a purchase without swiping your card. The downside: Anyone with an RFID reader can activate those chips and pick up whatever information they’re designed to transmit. And, if they’re sneaky about it, they can do it without your knowledge.
Hackers have made headlines over the years by demonstrating how a handheld RFID reader can “skim” sensitive information from people’s cards at a distance of several feet. They can get your name and country of origin from your passport. More alarmingly, in some demonstrations, RFID skimmers have collected whole credit card numbers from the pockets of passersby. RFID-blocking wallets are designed to impede your cards’ RFID signals, making them harder to read remotely. Tests by Consumer Reports, MakeUseOf, and others have found that some RFID-blocking wallets work better than others. If you’re going for maximum efficacy, however, few work as well as simply wrapping your cards in aluminum foil.
Now, similarly invasive technology could become an even more prevalent part of our lives…in the form of a dental implant.
You may soon be able to monitor everything you eat in real-time, digitally through a tooth-mounted sensor. New miniaturized sensors were developed by researchers at the Tufts University School of Engineering.
The small device, made of three layers, would track everything you consume, including glucose, salt and alcohol. It would then transmit the data wirelessly to a mobile device.
A study set to be published in the journal Advanced Materials explores how the sensors could work in the future. Researchers they the devices may eventually be able to detect a wider range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states.
Of course, the moral and ethical ramifications of this technology, and the melding of man and machine, is a controversial topic that will be upon us all too soon.
Humans are fast approaching the advent of artificial intelligence – a horizon that a great many of the world’s greatest minds believe that we should be approaching with great caution and increased trepidation. As soon as that switch is flipped, if it is flipped, all the data from devices such as your bank card, FitBit, and possibly your dental monitor, will be available to whatever computer created intelligence you choose to install into your home.
Whether it will be named Big Brother or Alexa is unknown at this time.