2020 Is Cyberpunk
On New Year’s Day 2020, I noted that we are not living in a future with flying cars, much less floating cities patrolled by superheroes. As I said then, that’s the downside, but the upside is that we’re not living in this either…
How quickly reality likes to disabuse us of our quaint notions.
Ok, so it’s not exactly like the way the 80s envisioned 2020, but let’s look around us –
- Computer and communications networks linking nearly the entire world
- Global economy teetering on the brink of collapse
- People being socially ostracized for thinking outside the Officially Approved Narrative
[from the sourcebook NeoTribes, 1995]
- Corporations essentially ruling, or at least strongly influencing, the world
- Worldwide pandemic, with people wearing facemasks outside to avoid breathing the “bad air”
I’m sure you can think of more. The Cyberpunk book even mentions something called “Storm Technologies” coming to prominence into 2019 and 2020, which might amuse any Qanon fans out there.
But not William Gibson, not Rudy Rucker, not “The Mighty Bruces” Bethke and Sterling, not even Mike Pondsmith and the crew at R. Talsorian predicted this.
A prototype smart toilet that can identify you by your “analprint” and monitor your trip to the loo has been created by researchers at Stanford University. It’s equipped with cameras and sensors that collect information on your bodily waste, and it uses that data to look for any health issues you might have.
The “analprint” is the toilet’s primary way of identifying each user. Much to the authors’ dismay, it’s also the aspect of the toilet that’s gotten the most attention since the paper describing the proto-toilet was published in a press release and the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering on Monday.
“It’s a minor part of our system,” Seung-min Park, a senior research scientist at Stanford University and the paper’s lead author, told The Verge.
The article reports that the inspiration for “analprints” was Salvador Dali. Somehow not surprised.
It’s not a bad idea, in theory. It could help people discover health problems before they become serious. But of course, it can’t be that simple.
The article cites privacy concerns, which are well-founded in a bizarrely disturbing way – the government has always been up your ass, but this makes it literal. But the article also notes “due to the fixed camera angles of the GoPro, the smart toilet would film female genitalia in addition to the anal region, which is why the first study included an all-male participant pool.”
Imagine your toilet being hacked.* Not only are you at risk for identity-theft-by-ass-recognition, you might end up the star of the show on the internet somewhere. With your identity clearly known.
The forthcoming game Cyberpunk 2077, dark and oppressive as it is, might be looking a little too optimistic.
H/T to this Redstate article I found while researching , and to Ace of Spades HQ, your go-to source in all toilet-related concerns.
*Now there’s a phrase I never envisioned writing.