Could retail workers benefit from implanted microchips?
SCDigest Editorial Staff
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Supply Chain Digest.
SCDigest has reported several times over the past few years about the small but growing interest in having one or more RFID chips or similar technology implanted in one’s body, generally in the fleshy area between the thumb and index finger, and using that wireless device to automate an increasingly broad array of everyday tasks.
Referred to in some circles as “transhumanism,” the movement largely started with a man name Amal Graafstra, who made news in 2010 by publicizing the fact that he had a RFID tag implanted in each hand, which he used to perform tasks such as opening his garage door or turning on his computer with a wave of his hand.
This summer, a Wisconsin company, Three Square Market, offered employees implantable chips to open doors, buy snacks, log in to computers and use office equipment like copy machines. It’s not clear how many workers have taken advantage of the offer, though some 50 were said to have signed up initially.
In a recent opinion column in the San Francisco Chronicle, transhumanist Zoltan Istvan, who is running for governor of California as a Libertarian, writes, “I got my RFID implant two years ago, and now I use it to send text messages, bypass security codes on my computer, and open my front door. Soon I’ll get the software to start my car, and then my life will be totally keyless.” His implant cost $60.
Many privacy groups worry about where all this is headed, such as government tracking citizens with implanted chips. But a few similar examples in Europe have been reported over the last several years, including a new program being developed in Sweden that will allow train riders to use implanted chips instead of a physical ticket.
“You could use the microchip implant to replace a lot of stuff, your credit cards, the keys to your house, the keys to your car,” a Swedish company executive told the BBC (via the Daily Mail).
- Despite the Controversy and “Ick” Factor, Growing Number of Humans Opting for Embedded RFID Chips – SCDigest Editorial
- RFID and Auto ID News: Are RFID Tagged Humans Closer than we Think? – SCDigest Editorial
- 3,000 Swedish commuters are now using microchips to pay for their journey – Daily Mail
- Why most of Three Square Market’s employees jumped at the chance to wear a microchip – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the transhumanism movement gain traction in the years ahead? Do you see applications for retail workers in corporate offices, stores and warehouses to use embedded RFID chips to automate tasks?