Harlekin Exclusive: Artificial Intellisense

You probably missed the short article last week that related how the UK was funding a programme to explore the feasibility of dogs recognizing Covid-19 from its scent. Labradores, Spaniels and other smart-nosed breeds are already deployed to sniff out contraband, drugs, even apples if you dare to smuggle one into the States in your lunch box. They can also spot cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, though you wonder why bother with the last what with the striking visual clues of the disease.

This was all a smoke screen. Forget those rumours about Bill Gates and schemes to collect your cough droplets so they can clone you. Experts all over the world have been financed by a confederation of Steve Wozniak, Jared Kushner, the Vatican and Kim Jong Un to develop a micro-electronic version of the dog’s sense of smell, the as yet neglected sense of the digital world.

While some of us have been worrying and even protesting about the restrictions on our basic human rights through the Corona crisis, scientists across the world have been feverishly working on a way to digitise scent on our phones. The potential of extra-nasal perception is huge.

On the face of it artificial intellisense will seem like the answer to our unspoken dreams. The chip, combined with activity apps, will give enticing real-time feedback on your smell-being. Those with life-threatening illnesses will be warned of impending relapses. Too much beer and onions will immediately register without embarrassing audio-alerts. Teenies will not need confirmation from their fam that they smell good. We will even be able to transmit smell-enhanced selfies to our friends and followers.

However, the true purpose of the technology is more sinister. Whenever we come into close contact with our environment: people, places, things, they all leave a unique odour behind. No need for clumsy approaches like implanting chips into our bodies. (Let’s face it, those really alert citizens opposed to mandatory vaccinations saw that one coming.) Bluetooth pales into insignificance when with the Rednose chip you can read out the day’s traces of who we met, however briefly, what we touched, where we went, what we read and wrote, drank and ate. No longer will we need surveillance cameras to identify protesters, no longer will ­­­jealous partners need to sniff the clothes you wore last night.

The information will be stored in scent clouds, instantly available to professional snoopers on 5G frequencies, to find incriminating evidence of illegal or non-conformist activities and eliminate dangerous elements in the population.

This attempt to develop suppression technologies under the guise of disease prevention is a bigger threat to our freedom than the alien landing in Area 51 or fluoride in our drinking water. I just hope Harlekin will be able to publish this before the sniffer dogs get me.

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