Stamped on Arrival?

Is this truly Elizabeth Moon, two-time nominee for the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Award, arguing that everyone should be given a barcode at birth?

She told listeners to the “Future Wars” episode of BBC’s “The Forum”:

If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached – a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals.

It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is.

Having such a unique barcode would have many advantages. In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from noncombatants.

This could prevent mistakes in identity, mistakes that result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Weapons systems would record the code of the use, identifying how fired which shot and leading to more accountability in the field.

Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war.

So instead of a slap, doctors will be giving newborns a stamp on the bottom? That really will be something to cry about.

Click the link for audio of Moon’s “Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World” (available until June 18.)

Moon suggested her idea as part of a 45-minute BBC discussion about the way technology is reshaping warfare —

Robot spy planes as small as insects, drones that hover high overhead for days at a time, interfaces to plug a soldier’s mind directly into a weapons system and lasers that could temporarily blind you: some of this technology is still on the drawing board but some of it is already used on the battlefield.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

5 thoughts on “Stamped on Arrival?

  1. Thanks for that. I thought the idea was a joke, but I didn’t know SHE thought it was a joke.

  2. Okay, she got me. Fooled good and well. I admit it, and bow to Her Imperial Majesty’s jest.

    I’m glad she doesn’t really advocate that.

  3. It is very unwise to attempt satire without clearly labeling it. (Plenty of examples have shown that “The Onion” is not a sufficient label.) Because no matter what outlandish idea you come up with, there are people out there who actually advocate something like it, and sometimes they’re the last people you’d expect.

  4. You’ve reminded me how much I enjoyed Zelazny’s premise for a couple of stories about the man that finished installing the worldwide identity system and his payoff was being allowed to leave himself out of it.

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