How wonderful life will be when secrets become a thing of the past

June 04, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

We're headed toward a great new world over the next generation in which crime and sin will face their toughest challenges ever and day-to-day living becomes ever more convenient.

Animals are being tagged today with satellite tracking technology, which is probably just a handy experiment to see how it might work with the human species.

Once everyone gets his or her own computer chip implant, the possibilities are thrilling.

Wallets and keyrings will become an ancient relic of the past. There will be no need for them. Your drivers license, house keys, credit cards and money will literally be at the tip of your finger.

How great will that be at the beach, where you can walk up to the hot dog stand in nothing but a swimsuit and buy an Italian sausage? And there will be no more muggings, because there will be nothing to steal. There will be no more of that aggravating loose change. No moral struggles over whether it's worth stooping to pick up that nickel on the street.


No more hunting for your car keys; a quick scan of the fingertip fires the engine. No more lines or shoe-removal at airports. No more passports to leave the country. The computer knows it's you, and because you keep your nose clean it recognizes you as no threat.

And you whereabouts will be known at all times. If you have purchased a winning lottery ticket but failed to realize it, the government will be able to find you any time, anywhere by GPS to give you your prize.

The awful temptation to play hooky from work will disappear, since your employer can easily tell if you're in bed or at the beach.

Even better, you won't have to worry much about your husband or wife cheating anymore, because your every move will be tracked. At day's end, you can download a map of your spouse's travels just to be sure he hasn't paid any visits to the Lusters Hotel.

And are you tired of her secret shopping fetish? She'll be more disciplined about her spending habits if she realizes you can tell every store she's been to that day. And maybe she has a friend you don't particularly care for. Satellite tracking is a great way to make sure she's not spending too much time with people of whom you do not approve.

And frankly, even though you would rather not admit it, you will be thankful you are not spending as much time in the bars - knowing she will find out - because deep down you realized you might have been tipping back a few too many.

The first clue was when, upon scanning your finger to order your third beer, coordinated computers locked the ignition of your car.

No question you will be safer, even though you won't see many officers patrolling the roads. They won't be necessary either, because if your speed exceeds the posted limit, or if you fail to wear your seatbelt, the satellite, assisted by the computer in your car, will notice and the state will mail you a helpful reminder ticket.

In fact, you wonder what police will do with their time, since tracking will allow authorities to see every person who visited the scene of every crime. Kind of takes the challenge out of it, some detectives might complain, but a small price to pay for the knowledge that virtually no crime, no matter how small, will go unpunished.

It will be pointless to steal much of anything, because you will be able to track every piece of property you value and choose to tag. And don't even talk about doing anything out-of-line, because the state will be monitoring all your phone calls. And cameras on every street will notice if you are associating with unsavory company.

Strict accounting of property, money and you will mean a happy life with no secrets and few vices. The state, for example, will be able to decide how much porn is too much for you and restrict access if you're tempted to go over the limit.

The obese should have an easier time losing weight, because computer scanners at the checkout counter could easily block the sale of ice cream to those with high cholesterol, or of cigarettes to those with high blood pressure - vital signs which the computer chip will also be able to monitor, along with rooting out degenerate behavior by detecting and reporting marijuana or unauthorized pain pills in the blood.

Probably these chips will even be able to detect fibs, so no point lying to your doctor about your caffeine intake or to the officer that you have only had a "couple beers" or to your wife that you buy Playboy for the articles.

How wonderful will be a world without private moments or guilty pleasures that you would be ashamed to admit to in public.

And it won't be an imposition, because if you do right and live cleanly as you should, you will have nothing to hide.

Sure, there's always the chance the state may define sin in ways you yourself might not describe it and try to correct behaviors you would rather not see corrected, but we live in a democracy, so it's easy enough to elect lawmakers who will make things right.

A century from now, people will no doubt look back on today as a barbaric time, one in which there was no accountability in which your dark, private life was basically your own and lawless people could even drive around without wearing their seatbelts with little fear of getting caught.

They will be living in a perfect world without temptations, where every day is like Sunday School.

And who wouldn't want that? Only people who believe that the human race wasn't meant to be perfect, and that it's those dark little secrets and transgressions that define us as individuals and make life so gloriously interesting.

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