Thursday, 24 May 2012

Completely off the beam

If only they'd been chipped!
Science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon wants everyone on the planet chipped at birth.  Why?  Something to with,
Having such a unique barcode would have many advantages. In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from non combatants. This could prevent mistakes in identity, mistakes that result in the deaths of innocent bystanders.
I don't know where to start.  The first-catch-your-rabbit problem?  The utter impracticality of it?  The fact that a theatre of war is the last place it would work?  That maybe it would get more civilians killed?

I think I'll go for the fact that this is the fondest dream of every tyrant since the dawn of time.


eon said...

The Beeb, predictably, was thrilled by the idea. Oddly enough, Moon is best known for her stories about Sassenak, a young girl captured and enslaved by pirates who after being liberated, grows up to be a pirate-hunting starship captain, whose only complaint in life is that she may run out of targets before she runs out of missiles.

If "Sassy" were implanted at birth, my guess is she'd never have been liberated. Which sort of torpedoes Moon's whole argument, here, assuming her argument is honest.

Which, BTW, I do not.



Jason said...

_Sassinak_ is _Citizen of the Galaxy_ with a female protagonist. Helped me decide to never waste money on Moon's work again.

Gauss said...

Turns out Elizabeth Moon wasn't being serious, but the BBC didn't catch on. Here's her blog entry about it:

eon said...

Moon not being serious? Business as usual. Her tongue-in-cheek attitude is what makes her work entertaining.

The Beeb not catching it? Also BAYU. Like Ford Prefect, they often miss sarcasm unless they're specifically listening for it.

To say nothing of the fact that Moon's advocatus diaboli suggestion fit so well into their megalomaniac worldview.

Moral; never talk to the Beeb. (But I thought everybody already knew that?)