If your boss asked, would you get a company microchip implanted into your hand? I remember being asked this question when I was a teenager, sitting around discussing flying cars and retinal scans.
“It will never happen,” was my all-too quick answer. This week, a Wisconsin Company proved me wrong.
Three Square Market (32M)—which sells vending machines for office break rooms—asked for at least 50 of its staff members to step forward and be “voluntarily chipped”.
I imagine much to their surprise, the company was not talking about the potato variety. Instead, they were asking to implant tiny RFID chips (as shown above).
What Do The Chips Do?
They don’t track your location or listen in on your water-cooler conversations. Instead, they use near-field communication, which is the same technology used in your contactless credit cards and mobile payment systems.
In practice, this lets 32M employees make purchases in the company’s break room mini mart, open doors, log in to their computers, use the copy machine, and other daily tasks.
The program is optional, but the company is very keen on getting that 50 or above mark. It’s even holding a “chip party” at its River Falls, Wisconsin headquarters on August 1st.
The implantation process, according to 32M, is painless and over “within seconds”. The chip itself goes underneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger.
In the company’s official statement, CEO Todd Westby said implantable microchips would be the way of the future, used for everything from unlocking phones to storing your medical information.
“Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities,” Mr Westby said.
While the implantation will make them the first in the U.S. to adopt this measure, Europe got their first. 32M has actually partnered with a Swedish company called BioHax International, which has already made the move to implant their employee with chips.
It seems to be all the rage in Sweden, since another company, Epicenter, has also jumped on board the chipping craze.
“People ask me; ‘Are you chipped?’ and I say; ‘Yes, why not,'” one Epicenter employee said.
“And they all get excited about privacy issues and what that means and so forth. And for me it’s just a matter of I like to try new things and just see it as more of an enabler and what that would bring into the future.”