The Cost of Money

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is no better way to light a fire under innovators nowadays than through their pocketbooks. Improved space travel? Genetic engineering? Brain scans for personality? No, I think it is safe to say that the next great technological innovation will affect the heart of American society: our ravenous capitalist appetite. As the development of debit cards, ATM machines, and online shopping demonstrates, the developed world loves to find new and exciting ways to spend money fast. What’s next? The answer is simple: replacing debit cards with an even faster method of payment. One possibility is that this would involve embedding debit and credit cards into peoples’ arms, allowing people to scan their arms for groceries, gas, food, and clothing.

For all of you like me who forget and lose items on an almost-daily basis, you would never have to worry about being without a method of payment—unless, of course, you are also the person who forgets to check the balance of your account. All you would need is to scan your wrist, and the payment would be subtracted from your bank account. Granted, this would only exacerbate the shopaholic plague that is infecting America because payment would begin to be even more appealing—resembling the Commodore Card’s “monopoly money” syndrome at Vanderbilt.

If debit cards were embedded into your arm, there would be less of a need to worry about getting your card stolen. Good luck being robbed at gunpoint when the criminal would have to cut the chip out of your arm and embed it into his/her own to access your cash. However, it is safe to say that as we become smarter and new technology replaces old technology, criminals will also become smarter. Resultantly, identity theft would eventually adapt to the new system through the use of computer hacking and fake arm chips, and law enforcement officials would have to adapt to the new breed of criminals.

There would be growing pains, of course. No new technology will function perfectly initially. As a result, the system would probably be updated multiple times over a several-year period. Our microchips would begin get smaller, and the purchasing power of the chips would become broader.

Would this happen in fifty years? Maybe. Would this replace multiple national currencies? Potentially. Would there be backlash for having one’s bank account engraved on their skin? Likely.

But hey, if it means shopping is easier, I’m all for it.



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