On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company which develops software used in vending machines in Wisconsin USA, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger.
Once that is done, tasks involving Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology like swiping into the office building and paying for food in the office cafeteria will be accomplished with a simple wave of the hand.
The program which is voluntary has already attracted more than 50 out of 80 employees at the company.
The procedure isn’t surgical; It’s quick and painless. The chip is injected in the skin between the pointer finger and thumb by a licensed professional.
Later if an employee feels inconvenienced and doesn’t want it, he/she can have it removed.
The company has also stated that the technology does not have any GPS tracking capability thus assuring employees of their privacy
The volunteer lot will participate in the program to open doors, pay for purchases, share business cards, store medical information, pay for stuff at other RFID terminals and log in to their computers by simply waving their implanted hand.
Three Square Market hopes that later on the technology which would be the first of its kind in the United States will be standardised allowing their staff to use it as their passport, in public transit and in all purchasing opportunities.
In the event that an employee leaves the firm, his/her account will simply be deactivated. The employee may retain the deactivated chip and use it for other different things but it won’t grant access to their previous employers’ premise.
Despite all assurances by the tech firm, valid concerns will still need to addressed on the safety and privacy of employees with such a technology.
The firm has sought to assure employees that the system will be encrypted thus minimising the chances of hacking unless if someone is within proximity of 6 inches to the chip — though even then the data would be scrambled.
Another concern for the technology is the trust employees could have that the employer will in future not expand the usage of the chip beyond the initial features.
This might mean invasion of employees privacy by being tracked on the length of bathroom or lunch breaks beside the out of office activities without their consent or even their knowledge.
Though no health risks have been raised, it cannot be wished away that the radio-chips might later on have health impact on the users implanted area.
The same technology is already in use by a Swedish organisation named Epicenter with a positive uptake and feedback from its staff.
While the technology is being tested in the US for the first time, if successful, it will only be a matter of time before the global corporate world embraces the same.
If the test firm can prove the benefits far out-weigh the cost, then the world should brace itself for the chip implant technology.
It will be interesting to see the reception the chip technology will receive in Kenya and Africa at large considering the conservative nature and religious doctrines which point to such technology as being a sign of devilish control on humanity in the last days otherwise known as the mark of the beast.
Would you have the chip implanted on you?