Technology has changed the way we work, play, and live. Recent advancements have bridged the gab between humanity and technology in ways that make them almost a part of us. Many Americans go nowhere without their smartphones, for example, and are engaged with their devices throughout the day.
Now, that gap is narrowing even more as European companies consider “microchipping” their employees for the sake of security and convenience.
Jowan Österlund, the founder of Biohax and a former body piercer, told the Telegraph that his microchips, which cost £150 each, could help financial and legal firms improve security. “These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with. [The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.”
Österlund said big companies, with 200,000 employees, could offer this as an opt-in. “If you have a 15% uptake that is still a huge number of people that won’t require a physical ID pass.”
Last year Wisconsin-based Three Square Market partnered with Biohax and became the first company in the US to microchip its employees, on a voluntary basis.
This might seem like it’s on the fringe right now, but if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that fringe technology can turn mainstream very quickly. Though it’s noteworthy that the companies considering microchipping their employees all claim it will be voluntary, the path to mandatory often starts by making something optional at first.
Arguments can be made that the rapid rise of technological enhancements to common life are dangerous. Proponents will point to the many benefits of these advancements and they would be right to asset the negatives have been less prominent. But this is a different situation altogether. It’s a dangerous road we’re starting to take.
Convincing the civilized world there’s nothing wrong with implanting technology into our bodies has been a long process. This is the next stage in normalizing it all. Are we going to be Star Trek Borgs next year? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean the speed in which public sentiment can be changed won’t come into play in the very near future when technology makes human enhancements more mainstream.
The potential for tremendous bad coming from this is high, though proponents of microchipping will use their immense resources to downplay it. We are already able to be tracked by our devices. Many of the devices in our homes are listening in on us. In both circumstances, we’re willfully allowing it. This development represents the next stage because it removes the possibility of turning the technology off. We can’t just leave our microchips at home like we do with our smart phones. We can’t just unplug our microchips the way we unplug our home devices. This is a commitment to be constantly connected.
Technophobes, privacy rights activists, and conspiracy theorists are finding themselves on the same side of this particular fight. Today, that “fight” is downplayed because it’s not right in front of us, but in the very near future, it will be. Which side will you take?