Cyborgs at work: employees getting implanted with microchips

The RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips are roughly the size of a grain of rice, and are implanted using a syringe into the fleshy part of the recipient's hand.

The implants are injected between between the thumb and index finger, and act like a company ID card might, using Near Field Communication technology that allows the bearer to operate office equipment, buy food, or open doors by waving their hand.

"Chips can also be programmed to hold contact information and talk to smartphone apps", Epicenter co-founder Patrick Mesterton told the Australian Broadcasting Company. The chips are commonly used for tracking merchandise in transit, but they can also be implanted in pets to identify them in the event they're separated from their owners and can be used in humans for medical purposes - to link patients to their medical records in emergency situations, for instance.

Despite the potentially creepy cyborg factor, the chips have proven so popular that workers who already have the chips have been hosting parties for others who are thinking about getting implanted.

Now, this is not to say that everyone is, simply, ready for such advances. And according to ABC, it's common for people to ask him about privacy issues. While biologically safe, the data generated by the chips can show how often an employee comes to work or what they buy.

"Conceptually you could get data about your health, you could [get] data about your whereabouts, how often you're working, how long you're working, if you're taking toilet breaks and things like that", he said. The chips use the same technology as credit cards and mobile payments and contain large amounts of information accessible by other devices via electromagnetic waves. Image Source: Pinterest " Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do and it was even for me at first. "On the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart".

Indeed, while the practical concept is not new to us, the functional-and long-term theoretical-concept is very new.

One of the biggest problems is that hackers could get a lot of information if they manage to get a company's microchip.

It can also count bathroom breaks, identify an employee's location and track cafeteria purchases, leading to invasion of privacy incidents and data collections.

While many stay clear of Osterlund's implants, some are keen to try it for themselves and join Epicenter's growing group of cyborgs. He holds monthly events where workers can be "chipped" for free.

"I usually lose a lot of things like my keys ... so this will give me access and help me a lot more".

That means a visit for self-described "body hacker" Jowan Osterlund from Biohax Sweden. "It's obvious, the next step, the next natural step for electronics is to move into the body". The views expressed in these articles are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

  • Salvatore Jensen