Implanting humans with microchips to enhance some capabilities or to add a super human characteristic has been a part of science-fiction for ages. With the advancement of science and technology, a lo0t of sci-fi ideas are coming true, and microchip implants are one of those. Under the skin microchips for medicinal purposes have been around for a while now but the Swedes did something different. Epicenter, The first digital House of Innovation in Stockholm implants their employees with microchips to use as access cards.
Epicenter has implanted 150 of its workers with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in their hands. Another Swedish company Biohax provides the chips and the implant services. The chip implantation is like a ritual celebrated with parties at Epicenter where the implant sessions are held.
The chips are essentially a replacement of typical ID cards for entering the building or accessing photocopy machine. The embedded microchip can communicate with other devices, sensors, and scanning machines. The CEO of Epicenter Patrick Mesterton came up with the idea of using them for purposes broader than a simple ID. The chips can enable you to use it as a credit card to make payments for coffee or at stores. Mesterton puts it as, “It basically simplifies your life. You can do airline fares with it, you can also go to your local gym … So it basically replaces a lot of things you have other communication devices for, whether it be credit cards, or keys, or things like that.”
To make it all happen, the chips use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that allows the RFID reader to access information from the chip within a few inches. Contactless payment cards and mobile payments communicate in the same way. The chips can only transmit information to other readers and can not access or read any information on its own.
In addition to a lot of conveniences, the access to extensive personal information may fall into the category of privacy invasion. However, this does not stop people from trying on new ideas, though.
Ben Libberton says, “Conceptually you could get data about your health, you could get data about your whereabouts, how often you’re working, how long you’re working, if you’re taking toilet breaks and things like that.”
For anyone who has ever lost their ID card or forgotten it at home some time would be super excited about the technology. The chip stays in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, so another important question about the security of the chip remains unanswered. If any reader can read the information on the chip, doesn’t it leave you in danger? They contain information about your ID number, passcodes, and even credit card information.
The pros are massive, but the cons are scary too. If it were up to you, what would you choose? Convenience over privacy?