near field communication

The Pew Internet and American Life Project and researchers from Elon University asked over a thousand “experts” about the future of money. Specifically, they were interested in the potential replacement of cash and credit/debit cards with smart-device technologies.

The majority of respondents (65%) believe that smartphones will largely replace cash and credit/debit cards by the year 2020. Others, however, believe that our infrastructure is too closely tied with a cash/card based system to be fully replaced. Further, most experts note that not ALL consumers will make the switch, as some will resist over concerns about privacy and anonymity. Finally, many predict that adoption will differ across demographics (with younger consumers replacing cash/credit at a faster rate than older consumers). Read the full report here.

Indeed, it is not difficult to imagine a largely smart-device based currency system—as this is already prevalent in Japan and growing in the U.S..  The next step is to imagine the social implications of such a system. I believe that these implications will be twofold: First, we will become more efficient consumers. Second, identity and practices of consumption will be more explicitly and directly linked—solidifying the connection between self and stuff. more...

Last winter, Cyborgology contributor David Banks described the Pentagon’s Gorgon Stare system—a nine-camera flying drone that can stay airborne for weeks at a time—as a “panopticon in the clouds.”  Like Jeremy Bentham’s infamous prison design (later adopted as a metaphor for all of contemporary society by Michel Foucault), the deployment of surveillance drones serves, in part, to limit the actions of militants by creating a perception that the US government was perpetually watching.  Banks argues that, ultimately, these sci-fi-esque surveillance regimes were made possible by recent refinements in automated data management that originally had mundane applications, such as helping spectators follow activity on the sports pitch or producing individualized film recommendations.

Compiled by PJ Rey

There is, thus, a double-sense in which the panopticon has entered the cloud(s).  Surveillance devices are not only omnipresent—flying through the air—but these devices are also linked remotely to command and control centers—large, centralized databases that store and process the information produced in surveillance operations.  Thus, unlike the historic spy operations conducted by manned U2 spy plans, drones never have to physically return home for data processing; instead, this information is transmitted in real-time. more...