Imagine if you could make purchases, clock in and out of work, and even ride the subway with just the wave of your hand. Well, that’s the idea behind human microchips. This is a technology that first burst loudly onto the media scene in and around 2017. Experts now say it’s only a matter of time before we are all microchipped.
The Microchip: You Will Get Microchipped Eventually
When it comes to major media coverage, we first started hearing of human microchips back in 2017 when Wisconsin-based company Three Square Market (32M) microchipped some of its employees. The program was voluntary and basically meant that the workers no longer needed company badges or logins to enter work. Apparently, they could also use the chip at the vending machines. The move, of course, received a lot of press – and a lot of backlash. Particularly from religious groups who opposed the idea and wrote nasty reviews of the company on every site possible. (1)
The move to microchip a handful of 32M’s curious, early-adopter employees was more a PR stunt than anything else. Still, it begged the question: Is this the future of technology? Are we headed for a world where everyone is microchipped? According to experts, yes, we are. It might not be soon, but it is the inevitable future.
“It will happen to everybody,” said Noelle Chesley, 49, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee back in 2017. “But not this year, and not in 2018. Maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids.”
What many experts are saying is that smaller businesses, like 32M, will be the first to adapt. Larger corporations such as Google, Facebook, Tesla, and Apple, will take more time. This is largely due to their multi-generational workforce. Older generations will be opposed to the idea whereas likely younger generations will be more apt to see the benefits. Some experts are saying that by somewhere in the neighborhood of 2067-2070, the negative connotation of microchipping will no longer exist.
Read: This Technology May Help People Drastically Extend Their Lifespan by 500 Years and Beyond
What Could You Do With An Embedded Microchip?
Really, the question is what can’t you do. Experts say that with just the wave of your hand you could make purchases in stores and at restaurants. You can breeze through airport security because all the required documents will be on the chip. That’s right – you no longer have to worry about leaving your passport at home. You could open doors, start your car, and operate home automation systems all using your chip. In Sweden, already thousands of people have a chip that allows them to ride the rail system without ID or a payment card.
The current existing chips are not GPS-tracking enabled. Many analysts, however, believe that in the future they will be.
“It becomes part of you the way a cellphone does,” said the founder of Dangerous Things Amal Graafstra“You can never forget it, and you can’t lose it. And you have the capability to communicate with machines in a way you couldn’t before.”
Elon Musk and his enterprise Neuralink are also working with a type of microchip that could help treat a variety of neurological disorders to restore sensory and movement functions. They are looking into how to use them to solve problems from schizophrenia to autism. The idea is also to help the paralyzed restore movement. (2)
“The initial goal of our technology will be to help people with paralysis to regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. Our devices are designed to give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis, to follow their curiosity on the web, or to express their creativity through photography, art or writing apps.” says the company’s website.
Of course, there are currently more skeptics than there are fans of microchips. The big scare is GPS tracking. Not very many people like the idea of being “trackable”. Pro-microchippers will argue, however, that most of us already carry our cellphones with us everywhere. This means that we are, in fact, already being tracked via this technology. (3)
Others are also concerned about the divide it could initially make in the workforce. For example, if a company decides to start microchipping its employees. It likely won’t be legal to make it mandatory, but employees fear if they decide against the chip they could end up losing or being pushed out of their job.
“Leaders are consistently more positive about the benefits that technology and AI will bring, while workers are more skeptical and concerned about their own role in the changing world of work,” San Francisco start-up Synchron found in a research study.
Microchips Around The World
The United States is pretty divided on the matter as well. While some states are allowing it, others have made moves toward banning the chips. The main concerns for those with the bans are worker privacy and company surveillance. (4)
Meanwhile, in Europe, people are a bit more open to the idea. As already mentioned, thousands of Swedes already use a rice-sized microchip embedded in their hand daily. Microchips are slowly making their way across Italy, as well. There are companies in the UK that have also begun experimenting with microchips. (5)
So again, will we all be microchipped in 50 years’ time, and are microchips good or evil? The answer is that it is unclear. This does, however, seem to be where technology is going. The question remains: If you could have a microchip embedded in your hand, would you do it? Maybe not, but your kids might, or their children, its probably just a matter of time.
Keep Reading: Elon Musk Says Tesla Will Release Humanoid Robots Next Year
- “You will get chipped — eventually.” USA Today. Jefferson Graham. August 9, 2017.
- “Chip Implants: Opportunities, Concerns and What Could Be Next.” Gov Tech. Dan Lohrmann. January 16, 2022.
- “Workers fear humans implanted with microchips will steal their jobs.” CNN. Matt Egan. September 18, 2020.
- “States are cracking down on companies microchipping their employees — how common is it?” Market Watch. Andrew Keshner. February 4, 2020.
- “Will microchip implants be the next big thing in Europe?” Euro News. Lauren Chadwick and Ric Wasserman.