Sunday, March 02, 2008

Biotech Fusion

I remember a futurist once predicting that human-made artificially intelligent robots, not humans, would be the "Earthlings" to colonize the universe beyond our solar system, and outlive our own sun. Now enter biotechnology, ala cyberpunk: the Digital Tattoo Interface, shown off at the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition hints at a different outcome. By the time "Earthlings" leave this solar system, there may not be a difference.

It's a sub dermal GUI that works with your Bluetooth. The simple fact that this little piece of technology is powered by the user's own body instead of some sort of battery makes it attractive from an environmental standpoint. Even better, any risks associated with it are of direct consequence to the user, rather than to comparatively abstract future generations.

Of course, beyond the medical implications of being able to monitor things like your blood sugar or vitals, or the impending blood clot and cancer questions, there is a cultural slippery slope. Ad space, skins, pop-ups, and spam will take on whole new meanings when we're wearing the internet, as will nudity. "Ahem. Excuse me, but, you've left your personal skin up..." And for the incurable couch potatoes, the inevitable implant of view screens on our bellies will turn us all into Teletubbies, and give new meaning to the phrase "staring at your navel."