A River Falls, WI company announced yesterday that it would foot the cost of having some 300 employees implanted with a microchip in the web of the hand between thumb and forefinger. The microchip is said to be about the size of a grain of rice and is removable if anyone desires. These chips apparently rely upon Radio Frequency Identification, RFI, a passive technology.
In this case, the company said that the ‘chipped’ employees could gain access to the office, their computers, and the coffee machine simply by holding their hand up to the chip reader. The implant cost would be about $300 per employee.
There is a company in the Seattle area named Dangerous Things that has sold tens of thousands of ‘implant kits’ to individuals and tech companies in Europe.
In answer to the question above, Spooky or Simply the Future?, I’d say “Yes”. It is both. Granted the chip implant in the web of the hand is not breathtaking but it is an example of where this might lead and very quickly. It seems we unleash things or thoughts regularly that have a set of good consequences and not-so-good consequences surrounding them. If a high tech company chose to use this technology for its employees to gain entry to restricted labs, for example, could not a bad guy kidnap an employee with that access implanted and use the employee as the key to gain entry?
If the implant is the ‘passive’ RFI-based device, maybe the employee’s hand would be the only thing required to gain entry. Sounds sort of ‘mystery novel-like’ but we have the people capable of such in our midst today.
There are actually people who proudly tell all who are willing to listen that they are bio-hacking their own bodies to try to make improvements to those bodies. There are always going to be these kinds of technology exploitations, my preferred term for this activity, in such situations. Technology, in and of itself, is just that: technology. We humans will continue to work diligently to advance technology; that is who and what we humans are. Given that, there will always also be misuse as I’d define that term, of the technology…no matter in what field.
I think I am happy to not, at this point anyway, be tasked to decide the “chip or no chip” question. I have obviously crossed a threshold that might be somewhat age-induced. There might’ve been a time when I would have tended to be more embracing of such technology. Now, I seem more intent on finding fault with such ‘newfangled’ things.
That might be based on experience understanding that all new technology seems also to have a black side that many are quite willing to exploit. Or, I am simply getting grumpier. Sounds like it may be time for me to crawl back under my blanket and pretend it is not 2017.