[AI] Electronic pet 'could soon replace passwords and PINS'

renuka warriar erenuka at gmail.com
Sat May 3 11:11:43 EDT 2008

The Hindu News Update Service
News Update Service
Saturday, May 3, 2008 : 0230 Hrs       
Sci. & Tech.
Electronic pet 'could soon replace passwords and PINS' 

London (PTI): If scientists are to be believed, portable electronic pets able to recognise their owner's voice and walking style could soon replace passwords
and PINs as a way to keep personal details and accounts secure. 

A British team, led by Pamela Briggs of Northumbria University, is developing a gadget called biometric daemons which will match the security of biometric
security systems and avoid the privacy fears these systems raise. 

According to Briggs, instead of a person's biometric signature being stored on a distant database, they will reside only in the daemon carried around by
its owner. Like a real pet, that daemon would learn to imprint itself on its owner. After that it would thrive on their unique biometric signals, such
as voiceprint, fingerprints or walking style. 

The human-daemon bond would be further cemented by games and interaction between the two. "Think how people bond with babies. You would do the same things
with your daemon -- cuddle it, stroke it, play verbal games," Briggs said. 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. However, separated from its owner, a daemon would no longer receive nourishment in
this way and would pine away and die. 

The researchers are reluctant to discuss exactly what form that the daemons would take. "The key thing is not the daemon's physical form, but the way one
interacts with it," Briggs was quoted by the media as saying. 

According to her, the daemon could be made in any form, she says, depending on what people relate to best -- for example, a toy animal. "If a person lost
their daemon, their access to their online life would be lost too, so a way to get a new one would be needed." 


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