"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."
That's Revelations 13:16-17, the famous Bible verse describing the fabled mark of the Beast. In recent history, evangelical Christians have claimed various technologies (barcodes, RFID chips, etc) would be this mark. Well, get ready to hear people claim Motorola is the devil because it just revealed what may be the closest thing to the mark as described yet.
The Verge reports that Motorola SVP for advanced technology and projects, Regina Dugan, was at the All Things D conference showing off two new technologies the company is working on. The first is an electronic tattoo that the company thinks might revolutionize wearable computing. So far, wearable computers have been watches or glasses. What happens when they're implanted directly into the skin?
Well, certain people (i.e. evangelical Christians) are going to get scared. If a RFID tag around the neck sends them into a flurry of apocalyptic visions, just imagine what a tattoo would do.
If the tattoo scares them, the other project at Motorola will send them into panic fits. It's a pill with an embedded chip that's activated by stomach acid. After swallowing said pill, the entire body becomes an authentication token that can be picked up by various machines.
The average person will probably be more concerned about the privacy implications presented by such technologies, but that seems to be par for the course when it comes to new wearable (or ingestible) computers. The fear of a mystical fire demon cataloguing sales seems pretty tame compared to being tracked all day and every day from a chip inside your stomach.
Still, privacy proponents and apocalyptic scholars have nothing to worry about in the immediate future. These technologies are still very far off. They are in development though so get those Beast watch conspiracy Web sites ready.
UPDATE: It should be noted that Motorola is not in cahoots with a secret society to mandate tattoo tagging. The above Bible verse was only provided for context in the larger discussion on technology and how it's often at odds with religious groups. Thanks to Kevin Mullet for pointing how it could be potentially confusing.[Image: The Verge]