There is the exploration of a somewhat futuristic idea: electronic tattoos. This new type of body modification could be implanted on your skin and be used as passwords for your digital devices. A very cool idea indeed but even when they become available, would you get one? We, as a society, are very much plugged into technology and one of the biggest culprits are smart phones. At a young age, kids either have one or want one with the reason to play on it, talk with their friends or simply because every one at school has one. As popular as tattoos, the permanency of their nature still scare some people so it’s not entirely clear whether digital tattoos will land in society. There are huge cultural, ethical and moral implications of using that technology within our bodies, potentially dehumanizing us in the process.
It’s only speculation at this point but there’s very many conversations about how exactly a digital tattoo might work. The most likely scenario would be the implantation of tiny sensors, circuits and gauges on the epidermal layer of human skin. This would make them waterproof and impervious to stretching and twisting while still enabling them to register or send digital pulses capable of being recognized by your smart phone or other Internet ready device. They could also act as our own personal lab test: taking the electrical signals from your body and combining them with readings about your heart rate or body temperature to deliver a complete picture of your body’s health. These electronic tattoos could be disguised as a regular tattoo, meaning that absolutely nobody has to know that you’ve been tatted up by whatever technology company.
Since electronic tattoos could be removed at any time, they would mark the next major step in the transformation of the wearable technology market — definitely a step up on a Fitbit! The only people who got tattoos back in the day were rock stars, same day payday loans,bikers, sailors and convicts but everyone and their mother has one. So when you combine the mainstream popularity of tattoos and the influx of personal smart devices, you get digital tattoos and everyone else will too. You may even want to get several different electronic tattoos, one for each device you want instant access to. The interesting about this concept of the electronic tattoo is how much its meaning might change across different societies and different cultures.
When you get an electronic tattoo, which cultural tradition are you really embracing? Are we being branded by a corporation or the government or by ourselves? With the Internet, social media and smartphones, humanity has found a way to express themselves digitally and if your online identity becomes a digital tattoo, what will the future hold for us then?