If you’re looking for a telltale sign that the future as described in scary science-fiction stories is finally here, this is it — we’re taking the first step toward becoming cyborgs. To avoid carrying key cards, IDs, train tickets, and other documents, thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips under their skin, which is designed to store all kinds of personal information. So far, 3,000 people have had the procedure done, but that figure is expected to grow as people become aware of it convenience.
Last year, Sweden’s SJ rail line incorporated the chips into their payment system. Passengers with chips can now simply scan their hands to pay the train fare. For some users, it has also replaced the need to carry a gym card and office key card. In this respect, their potential is limitless, and soon they may even be used to make retail purchases — similar to a credit card.
If you’re curious about what it’s like to have a microchip embedded in your skin, it’s kind of like getting a piercing. A syringe is used to inject the chip into your hand, and although it’s relatively safe, it could potentially cause infections or adverse immune system reactions.
The process of modifying our bodies with technology is called “biohacking”, and the trend has certainly been on the rise. Last year, 50 employees at a Wisconsin vending-machine company volunteered to insert microchips into their hands, which they could use to buy snacks, log into to their computers, or even use the photocopier.
While many might worry that the technology could be easily hacked, Swedes don’t seem too concerned. Ben Libberton, a microbiologist at MAX IV Laboratory, told Agence France Press that the data collected by the implants is far too limited for users to fear hacking. All the same, fears about information theft, lack of privacy, and loss of freedom will certainly slow the advent of this new technology.
H/T: Business Insider