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Swedish Company Reveals Plan To Microchip Employees

No, this is not a 'Black Mirror' plot-line.
Are humans slowly becoming Cyborgs at work?
Are humans slowly becoming Cyborgs at work?

Swedish digital innovation start-up Epicentre, has begun implanting microchips into the fingers of their employees.

The use of radio frequency identification chips will enable employees to do everything from open doors, to using office technology like photocopiers and even paying for food at the in-office cafe with the swipe of a finger.

Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter, told the ABC that the microchips would simplify the lives of employees both at and outside work.

"You can do airline fares with it, you can also go to your local gym ... so it basically replaces a lot of things you have other communication devices for, whether it be credit cards, or keys, or things like that" he said.

The chips are also said to be able to assist bosses in tracking their employee's activity, including monitoring the length of work hours and even toilet breaks.

The technology is not new, as similar devices have been used on animals and in virtual collars, but never before has there been a plan to implant humans on such a wide scale. Employees at Epicentre can voluntarily have the chip implanted for free, however, the company aims to have at least 150 workers implanted in the future.

Ethical issues about human 'mircochipping' have long been a social concern. The chips use the same technology as credit cards and mobile payments and contain large amounts of information accessible by other devices via electromagnetic waves.

In the 'About' section of their website, Epicentre describes its values as being "based on the founding teams extensive knowledge in building companies designed to create innovation with impact."

It seems this "impact" has taken on a whole new meaning.

Ben Libberton, a microbiologist at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, told CNBC that hackers could conceivably access the information from embedded microchips, which in turn, contributes to ethical dilemmas surrounding privacy.

"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," he says. "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."

It seems incredible that such important and ethically charged questions can arise from something the size of a grain of rice.

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