Fiction Becoming Reality

June 1, 2008 at 12:16 am (News articles)

Apparently, some genius decided that Phillip Pullman is the answer to improved credit cards.  Seriously, this is hilarious!  It’s a short article, so I may as well quote it here:

Electronic pets inspired by the popular Dark Materials fantasy stories could offer answers to the 21st century security problems, claim developers.

The devices called biometric daemons could carry people’s personal details and replace pin numbers and passwords for everyday transactions, reacting to different levels of risk and becoming stressed and eventually dying if they are apart from their owner.

They were inspired by the Philip Pullman fantasy novels – recently turned into the hit film The Golden Compass – which include animal daemons which are physical representations of character’s souls.

Prof Pamela Briggs, a psychologist specialising in trust at Northumbria University, has worked with computer scientist Dr Patrick Olivier from Newcastle University in developing the idea.

Voice recognition technology and software to monitor the way the owner moves could be installed inside the daemon, allowing it to get to know its owner.

It could store fingerprints or other biometric data, and be used to access cash like a bank card, or get into a building.

But the developers, who have talked to mobile phone giants Nokia, envisage a future where the owner grows to nurture the device over many years, and grow to love the daemon more than a humble credit card.

Dr Olivier, who is looking for financial backing to develop the idea further, reckoned the technology could be ready within a few years.

“The idea of the daemon is that it is a living credit card,” he said. “It would recognise it is with you, and if you put it in your pocket, it can recognise your walk and your voice.”

For simple, low-level transactions, the daemon would not need much “reassurance” to allow the deal to be completed. But if a “strange” cash point was used, or a purchase was for a lot of money, it might require the owner to give a fingerprint before authorising the deal.

The idea of a “smart” card that will recognize its “owner” and learn about him/her over time is a great idea, but calling it a daemon makes it more complicated than I think it should be.  Un-freaking-believably awesome, but complicated nonetheless.  I don’t know about you, but reading that article confused me about what the concept will turn into.  Will people be carrying furry animals equipped with all sorts of gadgets that will make Tickle-Me-Elmo jealous around with them to make purchases, or what?  Do you think this is feasible?

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1 Comment

  1. monster librarian said,

    Found this blog and saw that I am already on your list. Thanks for the add. Funny reading this article. My friend and I, both fans of Pullman were talking about how cool it would be to have daemons! Love the blog! Thanks again for the add!

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