Why this US company is implanting 50 workers with microchips to open doors, buy coffee


If one US-based business gets its way, the age of cyborgs might be upon us sooner than we think.

Being half-man half-machine may still be something for the pages of science fiction, but Wisconsin based company Three Square Market wants its employees to do away with a small piece of their humanity by implanting a microchip into their hands.

The BBC reports the vending machine software company is offering to implant tiny RFID-enabled microchips in the hands of 85 employees at its head office. The microchips will allow them open doors in the office, log into their computers, and purchase food, all just by swiping their hand.

“Eventually, this technology will become standardised, allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc,” chief executive Todd Westby wrote in a blog post.

“We see chip technology as the next evolution in payment systems, much like micro markets have steadily replaced vending machines. As a leader in micro market technology, it is important that 32M continues leading the way with advancements such as chip implants.”

Out of the company’s 85 employees, 50 have come forward to be chipped, with the company’s vice-president of international development Tony Danna telling the BBC many of them had “no hesitation”. Concerns have been raised in previous instances of employees being chipped over the potential of the chips being tracked, but Danna assured that was not an issue.

“That is going to be the inevitable reaction. But there is no GPS tracking ability to it. It is really the same thing as the chip that is in your credit card,” he said.

In April, Swedish software company Epicenter undertook a similar experiment, implanting 150 employees with chips that would allow them to do similar things, such as open doors and pay for food. At the time, HR experts were astounded with the concept, with director of HR Staff n’ Stuff Deborah Peppard telling SmartCompany she was “horrified”.

“If workers can’t carry a swipe card around, how lazy are we becoming as a society? How numbed are our brains becoming as to not remember your passwords?” she said.

“Being reliant on technology doesn’t need to come at the ultimate sacrifice of our brainpower.”

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