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Would Your Employees Embed A Microchip In Their Hand For You?

There’s nothing wrong with pushing the boundaries of innovation—except when it means slicing me open and implanting a microchip in my hand so I can stock up on snacks.

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Would Your Employees Embed A Microchip In Their Hand For You?

The line between humans and robots becomes increasingly blurred each day. We all know technology is becoming more and more pervasive, but there has to be limits to the innovation. For me, that limit comes in the form of a microchip embedded in my skin.

I’ve long been against the seemingly-inevitable idea of self-driving cars, and rue the day when vehicles on the road with no one behind the wheel outnumber the ones with people who are texting, flipping the bird, drinking coffee and weaving in and out of traffic through crowded streets. But all of that is for another day. I come today to discuss microchipping your employees.

No, this isn’t the plot of a new sci-fi summer blockbuster or me floating a preview of my new novel. This is a real thing, offered not in some faraway locale, but in the middle of America—River Falls, Wisc., to be specific.

Three Square Market, also known as 32M, is offering to microchip its employees, which would enable them to open doors, log onto their computers and purchase break room snacks with a simple swipe of the hand. Company officials expect about 50 employees to get the rice grain-sized chips implanted under their skin between their thumbs and forefingers.

32M CEO Todd Westby says he expects the chip technology to eventually be used in air travel, public transit and retail. And, while I also see potential in health care for these embedded microchips, I can’t think of anything more disgusting than a world where we’re all walking around with a piece of technology in our skin. I’ve got enough of a problem with getting tattoos for myself; and now, someone thinks I want a microchip in my body?

I applaud the manufacturers, designers and systems integrators in this industry every day for their ability to see and create things my brain just doesn’t allow. Most in this space can walk into a room, look around and envision its potential. Growing up as a news guy makes it so I need to see the actual furniture, large-screen display and control panel before knowing it’ll work.

So maybe that’s why I’m a bit skeptical about the need to implant a microchip anywhere on my body so I can start my work day or enhance it with a bag of Cheetos. It’s either that, or my paralyzing fear of needles.

Maybe I should have listened when George Tucker warned us all this was coming almost two years ago. I know this procedure is done regularly for ID purposes on pets and seems to be relatively harmless, but doesn’t anyone else wonder what information is collected on these microchips? It can’t just be about ease of access for employees; there’s definitely some data collection and mining involved here, too.

The youngest workers in the market today are always looking to stay connected. Here’s how you can attract these rising stars to your company.

Of course, this idea was launched in Europe with BioHax International of Sweden, 32M’s partner on the program, having already embedded microchips in “many” of its employees, according to the announcement. I’m moderately surprised I didn’t see it offered either inside or around RAI during my trip to Amsterdam for ISE 2017, since seemingly anything is available there. Maybe someone was worried about the combination of “special” brownies and surgery?

Call me old, old-fashioned, or whatever other pejorative you wish, but I’m happy to stick with my door access card to get into the offices of Commercial Integrator world headquarters and good old-fashioned cash to pay for my snacks. Is there anybody out there willing to do this?