joined:June 28, 2018
I certainly would not trust Google or FB with my biometric data. Google is scary in a big brother way, and FB will sell your soul to the highest (foreign or domestic) bidder. Both are not worthy of trust. Then again the Chinese government and their WeChat/QQ/Weibo are even worse. This leaves me with some nausea.
Yes China is a great example of the direction things might go. The internet based monitoring and control is bad enough (but that happens in other countries also just less visible) but things like the mass installation of facial recognition cameras across china that are being used in conjunction with a "citizen points scheme" are a good warning. Already people can lose points for buying too much alcohol, dropping litter, not giving up a seat for an old lady on the bus etc and if you go below a certain threshold you are unable to purchase flight, bus and train tickets to travel , get work , rent apartments. You also lose points for voicing opinions that are against the government so imagine what it would be like when there are wearable that can accurately track that you have negative feelings when you hear a government speech - there would be no disguising things.
The mandatory wearing of such devices would be easy enough to implement in a place like china but in somewhere like the US or Europe they could easily be assimilated into what we all think of as being normal. Would it be easy to make it mandatory to require every citizen to carry a device that can geo locate them within meters, record where they go, what they buy. No , people would rebel but that is exactly what everyone in developed nations (and pretty much in non developed nations now also) does already by carrying a smart phone which they freely do.
If wearable tech that records biometric information is incentivized enough people will follow the same path as smart phone usage. When hospitals and doctors can give much more accurate and faster diagnoses for people with such a tracker that has uploaded bio data, enabling them to catch serious diseases earlier, provide more personalized treatments that work better and actually save lives then people will volunteer to wear these things and provide their tracked data. Insurance companies might offer cheaper rates for people that do and eventually not offer cover for people that dont. It will become the norm, when you check into a hospital the first thing they will do would be access your bio data and AI will already have identified issues and treatments. In fact , you will probably only be going to the hospital in the first place because it had warned you of something wrong even though you felt fine.
But if a company like google or a government like China has access to all this bio data do we really think they will just use it for our benefit? That will be the carrot of course, the selling point that will draw everyone in but then google will be offering targeted advertising based on peoples health, mental state and also be able to identify what people like and dislike even more than they can. Governments like China would be able to identify anyone that doesnt truly believe in the party line and adjust citizen scores accordingly.
Biodata has the potential to bring incredible benefits but also user in a distopian nightmare.