The idea of getting microchips installed into your body is one of those very popular tropes of dystopian science fiction. Yet as people have been installing them in their dogs for a long time now, at Wisconsin-based Three Square Market, employees are going to get them installed into their hands. These microchips will allow them to enter the office, log into computers, and even purchase snacks, with nothing more than the swipe of a hand. The microchip in question is about the size of a rice grain, uses RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, and is placed between the thumb and forefinger.
Three Square Market CEO Todd Westby insists that the microchip isn’t a GPS, and does not allow for tracking workers. Since it’s encrypted, there’s nothing to hack in it, and since it’s not connected to the Internet, the chances of being able to hack in it are nonexistent. You would need to chop off somebody’s hand to get connectivity. The chips cost about $300, and in August will be installed by licensed piercers. The chip can also be easily removed, as if taking out a splinter. While it’s exciting, the move has met with criticism, with people warning of the dangers of storing, using, and protecting workers’ information with such methods.
Indeed, plenty of plans start out well-intentioned, yet those intentions turn, or the situation gets out of control. One critic, CyberScout founder Adam Levin, pointed out that humans have survived without microchips for thousands of years. But at the same time, humans survived without electricity for millions of years. So I don’t know if that’s a great argument. The company BioHax, who created the microchip, have argued that implanting people, scary as that sounds written out loud, was the next step for electronics.