The Future Is About To Get Weird


Imagine, just for a moment, you could tell someone's most intimate secrets just by looking at them.

Many year ago, when I was very young and you were even younger, I saw an advert in the back pages of some cheap comic.

XRay Spex advert

The implication was clear - SEE GIRLS NAKED! The reality was somewhat more prosaic.

But technology marches on. Today, you can buy a smartphone with a thermographic camera. Point it at whoever you like and uncover them.

BBC Cat60 Infrared

A glance is all it takes. He's lying. She's pregnant. That woman has a fever. That guy's sexually arroused. She's disgusted, he's afraid, she's sad. On and on it goes. Private lives, public property.

Tomorrow, the technology will be baked into your Google Glass (shut up - I still love mine), then into your smart contact lenses.

It only takes a few algorithms to correct for sex, weight, and age - then a little bit of augmented-reality magic - to overlay the emotional and physical state of every person you meet.

Body Heat Emotions-fs8

What does that do to society? Do we accept it and become radically honest? Do we wear a tin-foil niqab to hide our thermal emissions?

It's a little way off, so we've got some time to think about how we'll react.

In the meantime, here's a small open-source package which will measure anyone's heart rate based on a video feed.

Why not point it at your TV the next time your favourite politician is on?

Be seeing you.

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