Swedish “startup hub” Epicenter has been implanting its employees with microchips which can be used to interact with electronic doors, printers, and smoothie vendors.
“The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee’s hand. Another ‘cyborg’ is created,” reported the Associated Press. “What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish startup hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and startup members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.”
The process has allegedly become so popular at the company that Epicenter employees often hold “parties” for others to also be injected with the microchip.
“The biggest benefit I think is convenience,” said CEO and co-founder of Epicenter Patrick Mesterton. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”
“Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do and it was even for me at first,” he continued. “But then on the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart. That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.”
Microbiologist Ben Libberton, however, says the microchipping process could cause more problems in the future than benefits.
“The data that you could possibly get from a chip that is embedded in your body is a lot different from the data that you can get from a smartphone,” proclaimed Libberton, who works at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute. “Conceptually you could get data about your health, you could get data about your whereabouts, how often you’re working, how long you’re working, if you’re taking toilet breaks and things like that.”
Despite external concerns, Epicenter employees are reportedly enthusiastic about becoming “cyborgs” and being “part of the future.”