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Paper Topic:

Rhetorical Analysis

Analyzing Paul Saffo 's Trail of DNA Data

In April 3 , 2005 , futurist and technology forecaster Paul Saffo had his essay Trail of DNA Data ' published in The Washington Post . The essay contains Saffo 's predictions on the evergrowing use of biometrics technology in personal identification and its impending domination for the purpose therof . As an experienced individual in exploring long-term technological changes and its practical implications on business and society (saffo .com , the author aimed to make the readers aware of the possible events at hand , should the use of biometrics

particularly DNA continue on its blind charge to the future as the leading identification basis for every individual

Saffo 's main whip on the essay is Pathos (Morphing text ,he began the essay with a slight touch of Pathos or the intention to stir-up feelings of compassion with a common-day phenomenon a man stopped by an officer for traffic violations . This part succeeds in evoking a possible sense of familairity with the readers , winning out the element of connection a writer should ideally establish with his /her readers

Once in a while along the article , the intent to emphatize the emotion of fear is noticeable . The stirring of fear is prompted by the repetitive mentioning of crooks , snoops , or thiefs . In communication studies . presenting or suggesting to the audience images or scenarios that are undesirable and which imply detriments are considered carnivalesque . For in this manner , the author (source attempts to expose the possible intervention of unwanted elements with the technology he discusses (message

In reference to Harold Laswell 's communication Model (cited in Laswell 1978 , the field that asks the Who ' which refers to Paul Saffo as the communicator (source ) in the Washington Post article there is already an affirmative check on his credibilty as the source of the message

Now , to discuss the message of the article , the most evident feature of the text was the author 's claims . The author stressed out the flaws enforcing his claim that biometrics , particularly DNA-based detection and identification will be problematic

One of Saffo 's biggest claim was : The ubiquitous collection and use of biometric information may be inevitable , but the notion that it can deliver reliable , theft-proof evidence of identity is pure science fiction

The projected identifying marks that biometrics will use like fingerprints and DNA , to detect and distinguish individuals have a solid flaw : the manner of 'exposing ' it (or using it ) is passive . As Saffo pointed out : With a bit of discipline , one can keep a card safe or a PIN secret , but if your DNA becomes your identity , you are sharing your secret with the world every time you sneeze or touch something

Moreover , the author remarked that : The more complex the system , the greater the likelihood that there are flaws that crooks can exploit It simply pertains to the proprtionate ratio of possible flaws 'per unit , which in future is deemed to expand and get complexed which would mean multiplying flawed parts

Saffo also emphasized that : Today 's biometric advances are the stuff of tomorrow 's hackers and clever crooks , and anything that can be detected eventually will be counterfeited ' The possible reality behind this claim is the present indirect 'information drive . Not to put the blame on the media or the creative minds behind the admired and adored and awed upon hollywood movies but truth is , some of the works for entertainment sake does more than what is intended to do : it stirs the thought of the various ways to use and abuse DNA . The numerous science fiction flicks would update the knowledge and further enrich the imagination of the enemies-to-be

What the author calls as crooks or snoops were assumed to be sensible and innovative enough to realize the vulnerablities of DNA-based detection . Rather than considering the author as prejudiced , it can instead be treated as a good disposition not underestimating the threats as the old saying goes Respect your enemy

Another one huge flaw that Saffo had pointed out is the very strength of DNA 's uniqueness being at the same time a weakness in itself : DNA can 't be retired and swapped for a new sequence if it falls into the hands of crooks or snoops . Once your DNA identity is stolen , you live with the consequences forever ' The permanence of one 's DNA is an issue to consider , for every problem stemming out of it will be a permanent problem of an individual that he will carry through his lifetime

Upon carefully digesting the whole article , the author 's tone can safely be considered as pessimistic , for much of the claims he has are negative -all bent to expose the downsides of the DNA Data technology But likewise he took into consideration the present reality . On this part , Saffo (2005 ) showed a good merge between his positive and negative foresight

Our Mr . Witherspoon will get junk mail about obscure medical conditions that he 's never heard of because some direct marketing firm "bot " will inspect his digital DNA and discover that he has a latent disease or condition that his doctor didn 't notice at his annual checkup . -As this part may be too farfetched or somewhat prejudiced for over-preempting the invasion of privacy and other intimate details of an individual , it shows the possible benefits of the technolgy -the ability to predict ailments . Moreover , the negative kick was sill present the impending spam e-mails , which is universally perceive as annoying

If the author 's purpose is to make it clear that technological advancements such as identification through DNA has alarming flaws coming with it , the author have achieved his purpose . Being able to consider both the security-wise exclusivity and identity theft vulnerability of DNA-based identification , Saffo have established well his position based on his arguments at the same time relaying it well to the audiences (recipient of the message ) through good writing


PaulSaffo .com . about Paul . Retrieved February 26 , 2008 , from http /www .saffo .com /aboutps /index .php

Rai Foundation Colleges . Level 8 Communication Models - Laswell Model Retrieved February 26 , 2008 from HYPERLINK "http /209 .85 .175 .104 /search ?q cache :u http /209 .85 .175 .104 /searchq cache :u HYPERLINK "http /209 .85 .175 .104 /search ?q cache :u-bRsfK24RwJ :www .rocw .raifoundatio n .org /masscommunication /BAMC /CommunicationPrinciples /l bRsfK24RwJ :www .rocw .raifoundation .org /masscommunication /BAMC /Communicati onPrinciples /l ecture-notes /Lesson-08 .pdf Laswell model message book hl tl ct clnk cd 4 gl ph

Saffo ,

(2005 , April 3 . A Trail of DNA Data , Privacy , Social Reports Technology . The Washington Post ,


University of Iowa Rhetoric Department . The Morphing Textbook Home - Morphing Textbook Rethoric Tools . Retrieved February 26 , 2008 from http /www .uiowa .edu rhetoric /morphing_textbook /general /rhetoricalanaly sis .html top

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