The mark of the beast – enter the Alien

This is one of the scary stories I remember from Sunday school about the ‘Last days’ spoken of in the book of Revelations 16:16-18

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666

This is one of those scary parts of the Bible. Well where am I going with this ????? To RFID. ( a not of warning for the non-geeky person – This post may make your brain fry) RFID is an old technology that has been brought back from the backburner, due to the reduction in its cost and the ability to mass produce it.

So what do we use RFID for? It can be used for a wide variety of uses mania to store the data on stuff that it is attached to. RFID consists of a small chip and a antenna and is wafer thin. RFID would allow the scanners to read the data in the chip from more than 20 feet away. RFID is going to be used to replace Bar codes. The various scenario’s that they can be used for are : Checkout at shops – All you would have to do is to run your cart through a scanner without taking out a single object. Stores can know when a product has to be reordered. It can be used to make sure that the product is not out of date. It can be use to authenticate people by embedding these chips in people (connection to the revelation story).

Whats so bad about it? It is actually a very good technology which would make our lives very simple. The trouble lies with the privacy issues involved with it. Using the chips in the products we buy it would be very easy to track us. Big corporations can use it to see the buying habits of each individual customer. In spite of the corporations commitment not to do so there have been a couple of incidents already where they have tried to do it. And frankly using it to authenticate people will bring about macabre incidents of missing limbs. So you could have credit cards that can be read when they are in your pockets without you taking it out.

Whats so good about it? Shorter lines in stores. The stores will never be out of stock. You won’t get outdated products. Your turkey with a RFID can tell your oven how it wants to be cooked. You can keep track of your pets and kids (helps in Mexico where kidnappings are the order of the day).

The company that is leading this foray into the new technology is aptly called Alien. Companies like Walmart and GM are lending the corporate support to this endeavor.

Quote for the day

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

-Albert Einstein, “Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium”, 1941


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