features - cybernetics - ec
Do You Want To Become a Cyborg? Microchips Are Making This Happen

by Ethan Campe

“The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee’s hand. Another “cyborg” is created.” [1]

“What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish startup hub epicenter.  The company offers to implant its workers and startup members with microchips that size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.” [1]

“The injections have become so popular that workers at Epicenter hold parties for those willing to get implanted.” [1]

“The biggest benefit I think is convenience,” said Patrick Mesterton, co founder and CEO of Epicenter. As a demonstration he unlocks a door by merely waving near it. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.” [1]

“The technology in itself is not new. Such chips are used as virtual collar plates for pets. Companies use them to track deliveries. It’s just never been used to tag employees on a broad scale before. Epicenter and a handful of other companies are the first to make chip implants broadly available. “ [1]

“And as with most new technologies, it raises security and privacy issues . While biologically safe, the data generated by the chips can show how often an employee comes to work or what they buy. Unlike company swipe cards or smartphones, which can generate the same data, a person cannot easily separate themselves from the chip.” [1]

“Epicenter, which is home to more than 100 companies and some 2,000 workers, began implanting workers in January 2015. Now, about 150 workers have them. A company based in Belgium also offers its employees such implants, and there are isolated cases around the world where tech enthusiasts have tried this out in recent years.” [1]

“The small implants use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the same as in contactless credit cards or mobile payments. When activated by a reader a few centimeters away, a small amount of data flows between the two devices via electromagnetic waves. The implants are “passive,” meaning they contain information that other devices can read, but cannot read information themselves.” [1]

“Great for productivity but could infringe on people’s privacy” added junior Jonathan Rushbrook. “It’s getting too far, tracking is a scary idea,” said sophomore Andrew Higgins.

“Same thing as a chip in your dog, should be something you know about [and] it’s next in line for human advancement,” added project lead the way teacher  Brett Maceikis. “I don’t agree with it but something to be aware of  [while] being hired,” added senior Colin Hess.



[1] https://www.fredericknewspost.com/public/ap/cyborgs-at-work-employees-getting-implanted-with-microchips/article_8d8d3112-3129-5e30-8e72-6137fb54752d.html