There’s really no denying that the future is both wonderful and scary at the same time, and reality is starting to look more and more like those sci-fi books and movies we’ve all been reading and watching for decades. It was announced the first US business is set to start a new program which involves implanting chips into their employees’ hands.
Called Three Square Market (32M), the micro market technology company is in the business of providing self-service stores for office buildings. The experiment that they’ll kick off this August involves over 50 volunteer employees, which will each get an implant between their thumb and index finger.
Once the procedure is done, employees will be able to open doors, log into computers, make purchases at the break-room stores, or even use the copy machine. This of course, could have many benefits – on top of discarding the idea of having one of those annoyingly big plastic passes, users could also take advantage of this technology to add a second layer of security to their devices.
That being said, the company behind the experiment believes that this type of technology will become standardized, which will allow the RFID chips to be used as passport, public transit, or replace your banking card altogether. While this may sound like a great idea, the truth of the matter is that implementation is going to take a while because your regular person won’t just enthusiastically say yes to having a chip implanted in their hands.
The American company isn’t the first to run such an initiative. In fact, earlier this year, Epicenter, a startup hub in Sweden, announced a similar idea, although its staff has been getting implants since 2015. In their concept, NFC-based microchips can be used to strengthen security and reduce risks.
In both cases, there’s been a lot of discussion over privacy concerns. What kind of data do these chips collect? Who has access to it? What can they do with the data? Will employers have too much information on their employees’ private lives?
From health data, to your location, to how much time you spend working and how long your lunch break was – it’s all going to be in there, in those chips. While some people obviously have no issue with this notion and will happily take the step into the future, most will not.
Realistically speaking, biochip implants will help corporations a lot, especially in ensuring there are no data leaks or that computers containing sensitive information are only accessed by those with the proper clearance. Numerous studies thus far have revealed that employees and their lack of education when it comes to cybersecurity are the main cause for data breaches, data leaks, and hacker infiltrations.
Society, on the other hand, is far from ready to embrace this type of technology, at least not without being given serious arguments regarding its purpose and benefits and what regular people could gain from this, not the big corporations they’re working for.
This technology and this type of implementation is just starting to grow. The idea has been here for decades, but it seems that tech companies only now believe the world to be a little more prepared for this technology. Whether that turns out to be true or not, it remains to be seen.
This is the type of technology that some people would embrace immediately, even in its more extended implementation as it would replace passports, IDs, bank cards and so on, with the mention that the security aspect should be addressed fully beforehand. On the other hand, the largest part of the population, which is not as open to new ideas and not as tech-savy, would immediately reject it. One good example is Google Glass – a great device with a not-so-great implementation – which only attracted a small number of people, leading to the company temporarily pulling te plug on the effort. It’s worth a mention that Glass wasn’t that much of a stretch compared to other tech we have right now. In the end, time will tell.