Many times I get caught by surprise by technological developments, but I really shouldn’t be. So when I read an article about a company that plans on implanting chips in their employees I was surprised as I haven’t been tracking developments in this field. Apparently, with the implanted chips, the company can track when an employee enters or leaves the building. Also, the chipped employees can gain access to restricted areas, log into computers automatically and pay for snacks in the break room. It all sounds good, dandy, and semi-magical. For now, the implantation of chips is strictly voluntary.

For now.

However, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to see the downsides of chip implants in people. A simple Google search and an article on Wikipedia reveals some of the darker implications. For instance, the chips can be hacked. Think a little further and it takes identity theft to a whole new level. What about privacy concerns? Also, something I had forgotten, but the Wikipedia articles addresses, is the religious angle. Such an identity chip could be construed as “the mark of the beast,” and the universal application of government ID chips would create an instant religious underclass among devout Christians.

As technology advances, these type of human-machine interfaces will become more common. People will resist intrusive implants, however. Will the acceptance of implants create a class of Luddites, modern day Amish who refuse the chip? Probably.

I’ll bet certain jobs will become unavailable for those who refuse implants of one sort or another. For example, John Birmingham in his Axis of Time trilogy describes soldiers in the near future as having implants that do a range of tasks, from contraception to pain management. I don’t believe it was explicitly stated in his novels, but I’ll bet a base function of the implants was to retain passwords and a service record- much like the implants the company mentioned in the article above wants to try.

As such implants become available (and I think they will), you can forget a job with the DOD if you are unwilling to accept such body mods. The Department of Defense will adapt whatever measures are necessary to maintain a military edge. Count on it. By way of example, I carried a bulky GPS tracker, a personal beacon, medical supplies, etc. that could be eliminated by such implants. Less weight in supplies means more ammo, more capability for the infantry soldier. Someone with stars on their shoulders is thinking about this right now, take it to the bank.

The simple chip, followed by major implants, are part of the tsunami of human-machine mods which are on the horizon.

Science fiction has been converted to prophesy.

3 thoughts on “Chipped

  1. Another future tech option is to electronically lock a ‘smart’ rifle to the users chip – See Old Mans War, where the soldiers had an neural implant which they used to register ‘thier’ rifle…


    • The Empee. Familiar with that. Wonder about the practicality of that approach, though. Here’s why. On a team, everybody has to be able to use another’s weapon, and especially the crew-served weapons. Yes, I know Scalzi’s description of the Empee was that it never jams, and it can do all kinds of cool things. However, I never fully trust weapons and unpleasant malfunctions do happen- as of now. When humanity does finally manage to develop something like the Empee, then maybe I could sign up for “personalizing” weapons.


  2. I come from the coffee capital of Australia and we are now embedding chips in the reusable cups that provide the order and pay for the coffee when you wave the cup over the pay wave slate. Pretty weird. I also saw on TV where a local guy had the chip embedded in the webbing of his hand near his thumb and could unlock his house, car, etc. and use it to pay wave at most shops. It’s a brave new world out there. I just hope it doesn’t leave old dogs like me behind.


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