This paper aims to discuss the burgeoning area of radio‐frequency identification (RFID), which uses radio waves to automatically identify and track individual items.
The paper begins by outlining the benefits and utility of RFID technology, through an examination of its technological characteristics, current applications, state of the market and future trends. The paper focuses on consumer applications for RFID, such as sports, lifestyle and leisure, and personal safety. It then explores some of the important implications of the technology and concludes with considerations of a socio‐ethical nature, including concerns related to individual privacy and human development.
The paper finds that RFID technology has tremendous potential to ease life and to improve the human condition. Still, further innovation and industrial deployment of this technology should be done in parallel with a careful exploration of all related aspects. No one can deny that the expansion of such “anywhere, anytime” communication technologies, for “anyone and anything”, will bring about increased convenience, greater access and a whole host of innovative applications and services. However, the capacity of these technologies to impact human lives (private and public) will grow correspondingly. This brings to mind the notion of the “Faustian Bargain” in the context of technological change: while a given technological advancement may improve many aspects of daily life, it also runs the risk of reducing the advantages of earlier developments or earlier ways of life. It is only through an increasing awareness of this risk that humanity (and societal progress) can be preserved in what has become an ever‐expanding sea of technology and automation.
The study presents an overview of technological benefits while expressing a balanced approach as to the potential concerns and implications.
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