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Cyborg, a short version for ‘Cybernetic Organism’, is a term coined by Nathan S. Kline and Manfred Clynes. An organism typically enhanced with the implantation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is a Cyborg. Ironically, DC comics also has a fictional superhero named Cyborg. Basically, Cyborgs’ have some or the other machines implanted into their bodies. The implantation of machines is not a novel concept among humans. For decades now, humans implant machines that help in smooth heart functioning, knee replacements, etc. There is nothing new about implantations among humans. But the surprising revelation by a Swedish start-up hub, Epicenter, is that it offers employees’ a choice for microchip implantation, as CNBC reported.
These microchips have a size like the grains of rice. A syringe slides between the employee’s index finger and thumb. After that, a microchip is inserted in the employee’s hand with a simple click. This process is used to create ‘Cyborg Employees’ at Epicenter.
A self-described body hacker, Jowan Osterlund of Biohax Sweden performs this process with a pre-loaded syringe. This implantation lasts for only a few seconds and most of the times there are no screams, as CNBC reports. Jowan states that the next step for electronic devices’ is moving into the body.
typically, the employee’s permission is taken before microchip implantation. This tradition of microchip insertion is becoming common these days at the Swedish company. Interestingly, the microchip works as an ID badge or like a swipe card. The Cyborg Employee can enter office premises, buy food and cold drinks, open doors, and operate machines like printers, simply by a hand wave after the microchip implantation.
Given that this is not an innovation; some companies use microchips to track the progress of their product deliveries. But the extensive use of microchip implantation in employees is definitely something new. The CEO of Epicenter, Patrick Mesterton finds convenience as the biggest benefit. Additionally, he mentions that this replaces many devices, cards, or keys among other things.
With the increasing popularity of microchip implantation, Epicenter holds celebrations and parties for employees’ who show a desire to get chipped. Additionally, the Swedish company has monthly events where workers get an option of getting injected for free. Epicenter started the implantation process in employees from January 2015. Currently, around 150 employees have a microchip implantation.
Anything too good certainly has a grey side also to it. With the convenience these chips provide, it also becomes a constant surveillance for employee activities. Getting chipped is harmless, but it provides more than a handful of information to the employer. It can track the regularity, timings, and food consumption habits of employees’ easily.
An employee can detach cards or other devices from their bodies at their desire. Meanwhile this is not the case for chipped workers. Concerns about privacy and security remain, but for now it seems like Epicenters injected Cyborgs’ are not much concerned.
Is this creepy process the future of workplace and employee monitoring? Well, we will let time answer that.