Technology’s trumpet does not always herald a bright new dawn.
Already, our technologically empowered society tracks some “undesirables” at all times. Now, imagine a world in which every newborn baby immediately has a little capsule implanted under his or her armpit. Inside are monitors, tiny amounts of hormones, a wireless transmitter, and a receiver. The device is powered by a battery like the one inside your watch. Surgical replacement of the capsule every five years is mandatory, strictly enforced, and, because it is very cheap, paid for by the state.
From birth on, no moment in a person’s life will go unmonitored. At each street corner, at the entrance to each home, perhaps even inside each room and under each bed, there will be a metal box, tamper-proof and solid enough to prevent burglary. Each box will contain a receiver and a transmitter linked to a central computer. Every time a person passes near the box, an electronic report will go out. It will run somewhat as follows: “The level of the anger hormone carried in the bloodstream of No. KJ-090679883 is a little elevated. Inject 21 milligrams of the relevant antidote into his bloodstream to prevent him from turning violent.”
All this will be done automatically, within seconds. At the same time, a record of the event will be sent to central headquarters. There, physicians in white coats will be busy looking for even better methods to prevent the rest of the population from harming others, themselves, or the environment.
Most of the elements for such a system, such as hormone treatments to stop sex offenders from repeating their crimes and “antidepressants” capable of turning people into zombies, already exist. And with all types of violence rising as global GDP falls, the rest are almost certain to become available in the very near future. Such methods will certainly appeal to mayors who want to keep crime under control, peaceniks who want to eliminate war in all its forms, and feminists who are always complaining of the bad things men are doing to women. The question is, are we prepared to pay the price?