This is going to sound like the plot for a new sci-fi flick starring Will Smith (he’s due for a comeback), but we assure you, it’s the real deal. People are now getting injected with microchips (in Scandinavia, anyway), and there are a lot of mixed feelings about it. But for the most part, it’s making everyone really, really uncomfortable.
At Epicenter, a Swedish startup company, new employees have two options to gain access to things like locked doors, company printers or meals at the cafeteria: a plastic swipe card (sooooo archaic, not to mention a total pain to remember to carry around) or a microchip, which is embedded into the hand through a quick injection.
The Stockholm-based company, which is essentially a hub that provides office space and tools for entrepreneurs looking to accelerate their businesses, has about 2,000 employees, though only 150 of them have been chipped so far.
And choosing to be be chipped is a pretty big deal. Monthly events are held where new staff can opt for the “operation” by “body hacker” Jowan Osterlund, who works for Biohax Sweden.
Sounds slightly cult-like. Why not just get a tattoo of your boss’ name while you’re at it?
“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,” Patrick Mesterton, the co-founder of Epicenter, told CTV. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”
Once the microchip has been implanted, employees can simply wave their hand over a chip reader and doors will open, documents will print and even smoothies from the cafeteria will be paid for.
Epicenter’s microchips are “passive,” which means they don’t store any personal data like a SIN, banking details or your mom’s birthday, and they only transmit information when put in front of one of the readers.
The business owner admits even he was weary before having his chip inserted, which is injected using a large needle that places the microchip — which is about the size of a grain of rice — into the fleshy part of your hand between index finger and thumb.
“People have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart,” Mesterton said. “That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.”
Maybe this is something that could eventually replace credit cards when shopping… but for work? Hell no! Keep the card — if you have to, wear it on a lanyard around your neck before you get that injection. Because when it’s literally under your skin, you’ll always be taking work home with you.