While we've been kept awake at night wetting our Fraggle Rock footie pajamas for fear of the pending robot attack on our homes, the robots have been slowly plotting a different kind of invasion: one into our bodies.
It all starts innocently enough; a little harmless chip here, a bit of bionic limb there and BAM! Before you know it, your body is a veritable Robotropolis.
This is how the tech takeover of your body begins:
Kevin Warwick, a cybernetics professor at the University of Reading has a new and exciting idea: to implant a mood-detecting microchip in his brain, and then sync that chip with an identical one embedded in his wife. You will notice that at no point did we say this was a good idea, just a new and exciting one.
He hasn't done it yet, but we totally believe he can. Why?
Well, Warwick's got a history of these kinds of bionic shenanigans (dibs on a new DJ name!). He's already implanted a chip in his arm that activates the lights and doors in his office, and another that remotely signals a bionic hand mounted to some plywood in his apartment, presumably just to fuck with the cat when he's not around.
That stuff is all awesomely crazy, but it's the kind of harmless cyborg chicanery a lot of scientists are engaging in recently. The Emotion Chip is a whole other, more dangerous genre of insanity.
It started when his team rigged up the sensor in his arm to transmit to a necklace. It senses when he's excited and makes the necklace glow red, it goes back to blue when he calms down. His wife wears it.
Why this is useful information for the wife to have isn't clear, since you really do need more details before you know how to react (i.e. is the "excitement" you detect due to him having just won the Nobel Prize? Or because he's banging a grad assistant? Or getting beaten by the police?)
But no matter; Warwick plunged ahead and took the next "logical" step: having his wife implanted with a matching sensor that would let her sense his feelings without the necklace. And by all accounts, it works just like he says it does.
So when he says he wants to implant a sensor in his brain--and his wife's brain--that will essentially give them emotional telepathy, we can't help but watch with interest. It's for the same reason we would watch a bear try to ride a motorcycle--it'll be interesting whether he succeeds or not.
And if he does, well, the implications are insane.
Let's imagine a world where this product has been patented and sold for consumer use. If a husband and wife get these, and one of them gets pissed off, does it transmit the anger directly to the other's brain? Let's say one day Warwick is a bit grumpy--maybe his bionic hand is on the fritz and keeps flicking him in the ear while he's trying to work, or maybe he walked by a magnet and now he has to get minor surgery just to unlock his front door--whatever the cause, that general mood is now transmitting to his wife. And now she's pissed off at him for pissing her off.
Wouldn't this just create an endless feedback loop of anger, until somebody winds up getting stabbed? These things will totally lead to a worldwide ragepocalypse.
We live in an increasingly automated society, and it's not hard to see why: People are dicks. Look no further than the way we shop these days--we buy online when we can, but when we have to shop in brick-and-mortar stores we've got debit cards and self-checkout lanes that let us enter, buy, pay and leave without making eye contact with a single other human.
But sometimes those self-service lanes are full, or broken, or maybe the goddamn thing just will not scan the UPC code on your bag of potatoes correctly and, rather than giving you the perfectly reasonable "fuck these potatoes" option, they automatically flag down an employee for you, thus forcing you to chat with someone who was considered too socially unappealing for a job as a checkout boy.
"RRRAAARRGGHHH WHAT WAS LAST ITEM YOU PUT IN BAG?"
Well, thanks to the folks at VeriPay, there may be a solution: They want to install a chip in your arm with all of your bank information that will be automatically read when you leave any store with items on your person. Just shop, fill your cart, and leave. No lines, no scanning, no swiping. A signal detects the tags on the merchandise, then connects with the chip in your arm, then electronically sucks the money from your account.
So convenient. And all they're asking for in exchange is complete access to all of your banking details and the permission to embed themselves deep, deep inside of your body. We've all made that arrangement with some dude before, right?
The uses of ID chips inside your body aren't limited to shopping, however. There's also Verichip, another microchip embedded in your arm that links you and your gun together, so that your weapon won't fire unless it detects a connection with its verified host chip. Not only would this practically eliminate the chances of children finding guns and harming themselves, but it would also drastically increase the traceability of firearms. With Verichip, if your gun is used in a murder, you can't say it was lost, or stolen, or a case of mistaken identity: It only fires in your hand.
Granted, criminals wouldn't tend to be the type to get the chip implanted anyway, but the thought is there.
And now that we think of it, how long until bad guys hack that system? No system is completely secure; the entertainment industry has spent enough capital to start a solid gold moon country in their attempts to curb media piracy, and the eight different remasters of Total Recall sitting in our Downloads folder right now say that's not exactly working out for them.
You think identity theft is bad now? Piss off a hacker in the implanted microchip future and the next day the cops smash through your door. Their records will show that not only did your gun just whack an entire orphanage execution style, but that you also blew your life's savings on hemorrhoid cream and animal-themed dildos that same day.
After we're all good and comfortable with computers inside us managing our financial transactions, surely we'll be fine with one of them floating around our aorta with a tiny razor-sharp blade.
They call it the Assembling Reconfigurable Endoluminal Surgical System. It's "assembling" because you swallow it in 15 separate bite-sized pieces, and then it reassembles itself inside your body. At this point it can perform minor surgeries and routine maintenance without the need for external incisions.
Why, we can't imagine a single way that could go wrong, even if it happened in the first chapter of a horror novel called RROD: Rogue Robotic Organ Destroyer.
We work for the Internet, so we're not exactly luddites over here. Still, the largest, most successful, most well-funded software company in the world thought Windows Vista--the OS equivalent of purchasing a pre-on-fire Ford Pinto--was a good enough idea to sink millions of dollars and several years into.
Obviously the FDA won't approve the tech in general if it doesn't work, but again we raise the specter of hackers; any robot operating inside of your body would have to operate wirelessly (you're not going to have a CAT5 cable running out of your nostril to the doctor's control panel) and where there's a signal, there's a potential for somebody to hack it (see the story about Iraqis hacking into unmanned military drones... with a $26 piece of software). Are we being paranoid when we picture a 4chan prank causing our tiny surgeon-bot to go drilling into our balls?
And are we being paranoid when we point out the name of this surgery 'bot is the "Assembling Reconfigurable Endoluminal-Surgical System"?
ARES? As in... as in "the god of war" Ares?
The screaming man at the bottom is your liver.
Jesus Christ! Best of luck to you if you still wanna deepthroat the Killbot 5000. We'll sit this one out.