In the aftermath of the Wisconsin based firm, Three Square Market (32M), embedding microchips in employees in their effort to ditch company badges and corporate logons, the Internet has entered into a frenzy of debates.
The primary questions people are asking: Is this what real life is going to be like at work? Will I be chipped?
Gene Munster, an investor and analyst at Loup Ventures, is an advocate for augmented reality, virtual reality and other new technologies. He thinks embedded chips in human bodies is 50 years away. “In 10 years, Facebook, Google, Apple and Tesla will still not have their employees chipped,” he says. “You’ll see some extreme forward-looking tech people adopting it, but not large companies.”
The idea of being chipped has too much negative connotation today, but by 2067 we will have been desensitized by the social stigma? Pets have been embedded with chips to store their name and owner contact for years now.
For now, Three Square Market, or 32M, hasn’t offered any concrete benefits for getting chipped beyond the name badge and log-on stats. Many people think it was a “PR stunt” for the company to get attention to its product. If that’s the case, it certainly succeeded, getting the small start-up air play on CBS, NBC and ABC, and generating headlines worldwide. The company, which sells corporate cafeteria kiosks designed to replace vending machines, would like the kiosks to handle cashless transactions. This would go beyond paying with your smartphone. Instead, chipped customers would simply wave their hands in lieu of Apple Pay and other mobile-payment systems.
The benefits don’t stop there. In the future, consumers could zip through airport scanners without a passport or driver’s license; open doors; start cars; and operate home automation systems. All of this with the simple wave of a hand.
Not a GPS tracker The embedded chip is not a GPS tracker, which is what many critics initially feared. However, analysts believe future chips will track our every move. This is one of the areas that many people have an issue with – although… many of us tend to forget that our smart phones ARE GPS tracking devices, reporting and recording our every movement as we go about our daily tasks.
32M isn’t the first company to embed chips in employees. In 2001, Applied Digital Solutions installed the “VeriChip” to access medical records but the company eventually changed hands and stopped selling the chip in 2010.