It’s about 12 millimeters in size, and embedded under your skin, most likely in the hand. The RFID chip is here. Swiping cards when we make purchase transactions will be a thing of the past. A ride on public transport, simple tasks such as accessing the photocopier at work or sending a business card to a client’s phone at a literal tap of the finger.
The RFID chip stands for Radio Frequency Identification, and a company in Sweden, Epicenter, is embracing the new technology for their employees. Co-Founder and CEO of the company Patrick Mesterton says their employees have a personal choice to be chipped or not, it’s a voluntary decision.
According to Mesterton, the chip is used to operate secured printers, open office doors and run photocopy machines. The hope to also use it in the future to purchase food from the office canteen and health care purposes, isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds.
“I think also for health-care reasons…you can sort of communicate with your doctor and you can get data on what you eat and what your physical status is,” Mesterton says. “You have your own identification code and you’re sending that to something else which you have to grant access to. So there’s no one else that can sort of follow you on your ID, so to say. It’s you who decides who gets access to that ID.”
But not all are convinced of the looming technology that could be seen as common place within two years. Security and privacy analyst John Kindervag of Forrester Research, is acutely aware of the ramifications of tagging humans.
“[RFID implants are] “scary,” and will pose a major threat to privacy and security.
Sjöblad (pictured with his thumb up in the back) and his “implant party.”
“I fundamentally believe that smart implants are a technology of the future,” he says of the RFID. “But this is really just the beginning. I believe it will be possible to use them for riding public transport within a year or two. I believe it will be possible to facilitate payments with implants within two years…I believe they will have the capacity to replace fitness trackers within 3 years.’
“I believe we have just started discovering the things we can do with this. There is huge potential for life-logging. With the fitness-tracking wearables at the moment, you have to type in what you are eating or where you are going,” he said. “Instead of typing data into my phone, when I put it down and tap it with my implant it will know I am going to bed.”
Whether you are a supporter or not of such technology, other companies are racing to develop their own interpretation of tagging. Bio Stamps or more commonly known as a digital tattoo have been developed by MC10, a US firm. Proteus, another US company, has developed an FDA approved pill embedded with a sensor to measure body functions when swallowed.
“We’ve been putting chips in animals for 20 years,” Sjöblad reasons.
Now it is time for humanity.
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