Thursday, May 15, 2008

biometric daemons

Think how people bond with babies. You would do the same things with your daemon – cuddle it, stroke it, play verbal games.

Pamela Briggs, a psychologist and computer scientist at Northumbria University, commenting on biometric daemons -- the idea that we might carry our personally identifiable information with us, in the form of a small cuddly pets, in order to keep it secure -- in New Scientist.

In the presence of its owner, those nourishing signals make the daemon "happy" and able to verify the owner's identity, just like a PIN or password.

(I want mine to look like Miga, one of the new Vancouver Games mascots. So cute!)

The idea of an animal companion is what interests me in this piece of news. The New Scientist piece credits Phillip Pullman with the idea, but overlooks the many indigenous traditions that are more common than not. The Maya still hold that we're all born into this world with a companion, and have a responsibility to care for it through right behavior in society. Failing that the animal, your Nahwal, falls ill, dies, and so do you.

The idea is fairly prevalent and extends to the belief that we share the mannerisms of our Nahwals. Traveling in Guatemala with a guide we were to meet a second guide -- a boatman -- on the shores of Lake Atitlan. The driver had never met the boatman before and so I asked him: how will you know it's him? Because he's a fox, he said. We soon found him. And he was. Not in the North American way -- but his whole carriage was like the animal.


I, Rodius said...

Totally Golden Compass. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to have more poop and puke to clean up, does it? We're overstocked over here as it is.

bobcat rock said...

That's just far too weird. I've been thinking about personal totems, spirit guides & guardians alot recently. (as you do.) must be the season.

Lovely blog entry. Thanks for sharing. And I agree; Miga is so cute!

suttonhoo said...

so cute! did you take the test? turns out I'm more like quatchi... (of course. big. clumsy. carries a camera everywhere...)

& i, rodius: worth noting that I cleaned up cat puke JUST THIS MORNING. since this has come up before, I thought it was important to note. ;) (re biometric daemonic p&p: oh, let's hope not.)

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