Technology is a continually-developing field, with countless new innovations being announced more regularly than I have hot dinners, but one Swedish firm has now hit the headlines for utilising technology in a somewhat unprecedented manner, outside of the sci-fi genre, that is.

Technology company Epicenter will embed a small microchip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, into the hands of 150 of their own employees, which co-founder Patrick Mesterton says will ‘simplify life’.

The microchips, formally known as “radiofrequency identification chips”, can reportedly be used for a number of purposes, including opening doors and operating office technology such as photocopiers and printers; they can even be used to make payments at the cafĂ©.

Mesterton told ABC News, “You can do airline fares with it, you can also go to your local gym … so it basically replaces a lot of things you have other communication devices for, whether it be credit cards, or keys, or things like that.

“It’s an implant in the hand that enables them to digitise professional information and communicate with devices both personal and within Epicenter. Once ‘chipped’ with this technology, members can interact with the building with a simple swipe of the hand.

“Chips can also be programmed to hold contact information and talk to smartphone apps,” he added.

While the practice may seem unusual, we have been implanting microchips into living creatures for years, whether that be the tracking microchips commonly implanted into household pets, or medical devices such as pacemakers given to human patients. This is simply an extension of that principle, according to those involved.

There is, however, a distinctly creepy side to this news – the amount of data recorded, and where it goes. Microbiologist Ben Libberton, from Swedish university Karolinska Institute, spoke to ABC News of his concerns in this regard, stating that, “Conceptually you could get data about your health, and 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.

“All of that data could conceivably be collected.

“So then the question is: What happens to it afterwards? What is it used for? Who is going to be using it? Who is going to be seeing it?”

It is worth noting here that all of the employees implanted with the chip did so voluntarily, but it does raise interesting questions about just how integrated technology will become in our daily lives, and just how much we should accept.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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