EuroFOO: Future Spy

Fiona Romeo is looking for ideas for an exhibition on the future of spying at the Science Museum, called SPYMAKER: The Science of Spying. Again, some very rough notes:

The exhibition is for 8 – 12 year olds, and is about speculative spy technologies. Most people come in family or school groups, rarely individuals. Everything has to be accessible, including for people with visual/hearing impairments, so aim for multisensory.

The idea of people in the same public space is rare. Put attention back on the people that are there. 20 objects in a room. Science, and soft sciences, so can include psychology etc. Consider learning outcomes. Trying to cover a range of different ways to think about things. Future focus. Surveillance/counter-surveillance product of the next 20 years. Exhibition will run for five years.

Only restriction is that you shouldn’t break the laws of physics that are currently seen as true.

Small budget. Limited moving parts. Models. Has to work wihtout actually having to work. Must communicate within 30 seconds – 1 minute. Has to appeal to 5 – 75 year olds.

Don’t only mean espionage. Spying has become more ‘democratised’. Tech gives more hi-tech seeing powers. Big Brother, Big Sister – your mother, local council, etc.

Directions – things so small they are hard to detech. Remote spying. Body odour signature. Harder to detect, less visible. Denial of access based on computer analysis. RFID is of the moment. Increased computing power. Processing huge volume of information, e.g. to process all telephone calls.

Everything will be done under a Creative Commons attribution licence. Has to relate to the every day life of an 8 year old. Take beyond where technology has been perfected, and go to where they become baroque. Once things are really accepted, they becomes the customisable.

So… we split into groups at this point and had a think about it. My idea, which others expanded, was about DNA espionage, suits that stop you shedding skin and hair for DNA harvesting, and which you peel off at the end of the day… or a suit that has someone else’s DNA impregnated in it…

Already a DNA spray of 100 or so people that thieves spray around.

Other ideas…
Gait recognition from video, which allows them to recognise individual. Also allows them to recognise suicide. Predict criminals and arrest.

Car and phone tracking… can already track cars via automatic numberplate recognition. So what about tracking people via jewellery, engagement rings.

Games that tell you when people are close to you.

God bots in 3D digital worlds, watching what people are doing. Are we going to be allowed to protect ourselves from that sort of surveillance.

This was a fun session, actually. I’m just sorry my notes are so random and rough.