Philobiblon: The imperfect conjunction of technology and bodies

Friday, October 21, 2005

The imperfect conjunction of technology and bodies

The planned new British ID cards have scraped through the Commons, although with a bit of luck the Lords will block them. Even the experts don't think they'll be sufficiently reliable, the Guardian reports today:

Mr Tavano also noted the shortcomings of biometric data. "If you play the guitar, if you're a mason, or when you grow old, your fingerprints can change so they do not match biometric data already stored," he told Guardian Unlimited. Under the scheme, face, iris and fingerprint scans will be used to identify people.

Just imagine - you get to the airport after the London-Sydney flight, and The Computer decides your iris scan means you're not you. Maybe the failure rate is only one in 10,000, but look at the queue at Heathrow and imagine how many that means every day.

Getting even darker, an image of America as a threatened rabbit warren, ala Watership Down. (A book I confess I've never read, but given its seemingly essential place in the English psyche I probably should.

Finally, the ad man who is happy to dismiss more than half of the human race as 'crap'. Yes, it is the usual, female, half.

Actually, I bet if you pinned him down, he'd say anyone who wasn't a carbon copy of himself was "crap", so probably in his world view there are half a dozen people aren't. We all know the type - they only promote people who are identikit pictures of themselves, because that's all they can manage to deal with. If you've got breasts, by definition you're not like them. (No, I haven't known any women like that, although I have dealt with women who were the opposite - only unthreatening young males need apply.)


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