You’re normally a completely insane person, but once you start approaching your work’s premises, you clear your throat, straighten your back and put on a smile. You wipe the tiniest smudge off your shoe, pat down that rebellious lock of hair and take a deep breath in. For the next 8h, you tolerate people whom you cannot stand and perform work, which is not going to make the world a better place. (Of course that is not always true. I am trying to paint a picture here. Bare with me!) Once you step out of your office, and walk outside, you take a quick look behind you to make sure that you are far away, enough for you to untie your shirt’s top button, let your hair loose and whistle while headbanging to your favorite metal band. You let your breath out. We all have a reason for doing what we do – earning money so that we can pay our rent, plan a vacation, or simply using it to move to a better one.
Outside of work, you can be you. You can hang out with whomever you want, saying whatever you want. You are not getting paid for acting a certain way when you’re off the clock, you do not represent the company you work for, no one cares where you are, or what you do. Right? Theoretically, yes. Practically, not really. And it just might get worse. Some found that out the hard way, when they lost their jobs because someone snapped a picture of them marching in Charlottesville. They were standing up for what they believed in during their off hours. They got fired for something unrelated to their work performance; just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
This past week, August 15th was “Check the Chip Day”. It serves as a reminder to vets and pet owners to check if the implanted chip is still in the proper location (they can move in your pet’s body, which makes it harder to serve their purpose), and if all the emergency contact information is up to date. You do want your beloved 4-legged companion returned to you when lost, right?
All that reminded me of the latest HUMAN chipping craze. Less than a month ago, a Wisconsin firm held a “CHIPPING PARTY”, during which they micro-chipped 41 of its 85 employees. There was cake, balloons and T-shirts for those who decided to get a foreign body shoved into their bodies between the index finger and the thumb. Thanks to the new piece of technology, they will now be able to open doors without using their badges, log into their computers without having to enter their passwords, and pay for their snacks from the company’s vending machines. Supposedly, the data on the chip is encrypted and there is no GPS tracking. Do you feel safer? I do not.
A few months ago, I read and watched a video about a man, who implanted a chip in his hand to do away with his wallet. The problem is, however, that not many places are able to support this technology, making him a bit ahead of his time. While most places accept Debit/ Credit cards, and a some of them accept payments through the touch of your phone, very few can accept “hand” payments.
The ultimate goal is to have you not carry a wallet, a passport, or a transit pass. You could board a train to the airport, pass through the TSA check points, and buy a Big Mac. All just with the use of your hand. No need to worry about forgetting your essentials any more. Got a hand? You’re good to go!
A year or two back, during one of our corporate meetings (forgive me, I do not recall what the topic was), one of the employees voluntarily suggested that we all carry GPS trackers. “HUH?” – was my response. “In my previous workplace, we all had this thing clipped to our badges, and so our boss knew where we were at all times. In case he needed to get a hold of us” – he continued. (Oh, I remember! We were talking about various active shooter scenarios.) How could he have thought that was a good idea? He received a lot of weird stares, and the conversation went back to some other useless nonsense. Looks like his previous company was ahead of the current trend. At least they had their employees carry the GPS devices OUTSIDE of their bodies. At least people could leave them once they were done with their shift.
This whole chipping thing has me in awe. First of all, it’s a foreign body. Inside your body. There is a chance your body will not tolerate it, leading to potentially dangerous consequences. Supposedly, the FDA approved this piece of tech. However, that does not mean it is 100% harmless. Supposedly, the chip does not act as a GPS tracker. Maybe it does, maybe it does not. But if you scan your hand to get on a bus, then scan it again to pay for movie tickets, then again at a bar, is it not the same as a GPS tracker?
I do realize that I am consciously skeptical of new technology. While it can do a lot of good, it can pose a lot of risks. Have we not learned our lessons after hearing about kids being abducted, adults being murdered because of posting a picture online (which can lead to a precise location), or “checking in” on Facebook through our phones? I guess not, because we are still doing so, because we are still using our phones to do anything and everything. We allow various apps to track our locations, spy on what we do and log our identity. Why? A lot of you might not care. I do. I try to keep it all to bare minimum. Unfortunately, that is not always possible in today’s world. Your privacy is no longer your own. The amount of knowledge various companies (and hackers) have about you is astounding. And with a chip INSIDE of you, make no mistake, there will be full disclosure of what you do.
My boss is happy with me. I do my job and I do it well. She trusts me and I reward her with meeting her expectations. There is no need for her to know if I go for a walk in the park during my lunch break, or if I stay inside the building (opening doors with hand). No need for her to know if I bought a Snickers or a “healthier” option. Heck, I would even prefer to struggle to remember a million of my passwords, if it meant that I do not fear someone chopping my hand off, just so they can gain access to restricted information. All the movies in which they cut off someone’s thumb to open a vault accessible through the owner’s fingerprint, or in which they gauge someone’s eye out for the iris scanner, did not go unnoticed. I like my body parts intact. Thank you very much.
A few years ago, PhD students at MIT came up with productivity “sensors placed in employee identification badges that gather real-time information to help companies measure productivity. The sensors identify a person’s tone of voice, movement and even their posture when communicating with others.” Google used that to help better their employees. To boost productivity. There is no hiding. Your boss will know that you had an “attitude” when talking to a customer. FIRED!
Office furniture can also “spy” on you. Back problems are a plague among the sitting Americans. Companies want to come to our aid, and so they furnish our offices with chairs, which are supposed to monitor our sitting patterns. Slouch, and your chair will sound a noise. Sit too long, and the chair will start vibrating until you get up and walk. Good, right? Umm… That also means that your boss will be able to see how long you have NOT been sitting, i.e. how long you have been away from your desk, i.e. not working.
All is in our best interest. I am a conspiracy theorist.
Soon you might be offered the job of your dreams. One condition – you will be chipped. Would you still accept it? Would you find ANY kind of work if you refused to?