Remember that story about the Wisconsin company that was going to put microchips into the hands of employees that volunteered to test out the tech for vending machines? Well, the day for them to get their Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) implant has finally arrived!
They're not only calm and collected, they look downright excited to have the chips placed in their hand.
This is, reasonably, freaking people out for a bunch of reasons -- either for the obvious security and privacy concerns or a number of biblical allusions to the end times.
Is this an overreaction to a technology that we are generally unfamiliar with, though? For the most part: probably.
This isn't the first time people have willingly implanted RFID microchips into their bodies. In fact, early researchers and pioneers of the tech were doing it as early as the late 90s. Plus, we've seen the widespread usefulness of having our pets microchipped with a similar version of this technology for identification purposes if they were ever to run away and be picked up by animal control.
The key here is that these passive RFID chips use very low frequencies and can't actively transmit data past a very isolated range. Similar to many keyless entry systems and pet microchips, these have an extremely short range of a few centimeters where receivers can read the data on the chip.
As far as GPS tracking is concerned, it seems unlikely at the moment for a microchip like this to have that capability because it has no internal power source and lacks an antenna to receive data. Without that, it is impossible to receive satellite data.
Some RFID systems do have GPS capability, but those are much larger and comparatively more complex.
If we really want to put this all into perspective, look no further than the average smart phone. It has virtually all the same capabilities as these RFID microchips, GPS and much, much more of our own private data contained in one small package that automatically tracks and uploads data to the internet without us explicitly telling it to. To top it all off, most of us have willingly carried these around with us everywhere we've gone for years now.
Given the reaction to the tech, most people likely won't accept it into their lives (and bodies) unless there are truly compelling reasons to-- either because people naturally have an aversion to technology they've only read about or seen in dystopian science fiction or because it is generally redundant to what smart phones can already do.
On the other hand, being able to get some chips or open a door with the wave of a hand like a real-life Jedi does sound kind of cool on some level...
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