Revelation 13: 16-17: Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
I’m not religious, still. I’m not convinced of the existence of any God and yet, the Bible was written by some very interesting people. And, as a writer of scary stories, I have had occasion to dip into the Bible (as well as some *cough* ‘rival publications’ for fact-checking and inspiration). The Mark of the Beast is a big story plotline which nobody seriously thought would become reality.
“I want to be part of the future,” she laughs.
Surely she meant ‘furniture’. They hold parties where unchipped workers get to be assimilated for free. It’s not yet compulsory to be chipped to work there but it’s going to be damn inconvenient to be unchipped when the card readers start breaking down. Who wants to pay maintenance costs on obsolete equipment? There’s no need to ‘force’ compliance. Just make non-compliance a hassle.
These are all volunteers. They’ll be delighted with their new Borg implant that lets them open doors and operate vending machines. How long before there are doors that can only be opened by the chip? You don’t have the chip, you can’t go in there. How long before it’s simply too inconvenient to be unchipped? How long before it’s mandatory? How long before you can’t open your door or ride a bus or start your car without one? How long before resistance is genuinely futile?
Oh, the technology has been around for some time. Implanted chips are years old. Implants in pets are actually compulsory in many countries now, and you can already pay for stuff by tapping your credit card on the machine rather than going to all that hassle of slotting it in and pressing four buttons. I’m still a Luddite and use cash most of the time, and absolutely refuse to get involved with contactless when I use the card.
I can keep the cards in a screened wallet so they don’t get scanned by passing crooks, but what if it’s in your hand? Will we have to wear chain mail gloves?
Yes, people welcomed contactless technology and as I suggested at the time, if pressing four buttons is such a hassle, wouldn’t it be so much more convenient if you didn’t have to bother with the card? Why not have that contactless chip embedded in your hand? You can’t forget it or lose it and it’s unlikely to be stolen. You’d certainly notice if it was. I said at the time that it wouldn’t have to be mandatory. People will welcome such convenience.
Remember, a few years back, the calls to have children microchipped like pets so they could be traced if they went missing? Oh that met with absolute outrage! It died out and went quiet. Well it’s back now, except now they will get adults to demand them rather than force them on us all.
They could replace passports. Yes, you can be scanned remotely as you pass without even knowing your credentials are being checked. Isn’t that convenient? Any government authority can know where you are and who you’re with at a moment’s notice. Does that make you feel safe? I bet many people will answer ‘yes’ to that.
The amount of calories in your shopping could soon be displayed on your till receipt and from there it’s just a small step to a siren and red light announcing ‘too many calories!’ at the checkout. Most people will be shamed into buying fewer calories. Personally I’d see it as a challenge to set off that red light every single time.
Buying too much booze? Buying too many chocolate bars? Buying another can of fizz when you bought one only last week? Does it really sound so unlikely when even now, you buy something on Amazon and get related ads popping up on Facebook and other sites. Use your store card and they send you vouchers for money off stuff you buy. Oh yes, it’s all great until you start thinking about how much data is really stored about your life.
Your medical records can be stored on another chip. How would you sell that to people? Well, suppose you were in an accident or passed out on the street. If an ambulance crew could just scan you and get your records, it would save vital minutes and ensure they know what to treat you with right away. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Link it to your home Wifi and the medics can tell if you’re suddenly taken ill. They can also tell when you’re smoking, drinking, overeating…
All this, and the total removal of even the concept of gender, is already in Panoptica. The story I wonder about finishing – and wonder whether I should have written it at all. It seems to come true as I write it.
Although I didn’t have calorie counts on till receipts. There are no till receipts and your shopping is assembled for you depending on your State-defined dietary needs. That hasn’t happened in real life.