No less than 4,000 Swedish people are walking about with microchip implants buried inside their forearm and it’s mostly because they are too tired of opening doors and carrying cash and cards.
On the latest instalment of “No Bloody Way!”, it appears folks in Sweden have left the rest of the world behind and are now living in the future. Or maybe they are just freaks.
But in any case, the news is that thousands of Swedish people are having futuristics microchips implanted under their skin because they are so done with carrying cash or having to dig into their wallets and pockets for cards every time they need to pay for something or open a door.
Yes, when the rest of the world is still trying to get used to the sting of a tattoo artist’s needle, the Scandinavians have taken things to a whole new level — burying computer chips inside their bodies.
As a matter of fact, no fewer than 4,000 people have already undergone this procedure (yes, we are calling it that), and even though it still sounds like something off of a bad sci-fi movie, the few who have had this grain-of-rice-sized chips buried inside their forearm are hoping to trigger a worldwide movement.
As though they were some kind of smartwatch-gone-too-far, Swedes bearing these chips currently use it to monitor their health and even replace keycards to allow them to enter into offices and buildings.
In a rather weird way, the chip implant trend has particularly caught on and as outrageous as it sounds, many ‘carriers’ are already paying for things in stores with the swipe of a hand. Some are already calling it the “game-changer for a forward-looking country that is moving toward eliminating cash.”
Jowan Österlund, a former body piercer, is the brain these new chip implants and he already thinks of it as a “moonshot.” In fact, he claims that his efforts have gotten the attention of scores of investors in every continent except Antarctica. This could imply that there may, indeed, be something here.
“Tech will move into the body,” the Biohax International founder told Fortune magazine. “I am sure of that.”
Österlund is adamant that the technology is completely safe and foolproof but that has not done much to stop tongues from wagging, with some already linking the two-fold increase in cybercrime in the country over the last decade to the rise in the number of chip implant enthusiasts.
Science folks are already lauding the efforts of the Swede, talking up the exciting potential health benefits of accurate health metrics taken in vivo or in situ. But concerns stemming from the mass of highly-personalised user data that could be gathered and how it may be used is getting more vocal by the day.
Many fear that the data could be used in malicious ways if not handled properly, citing concerns in insurance companies monitoring health data and deciding to increase premiums once they notice something odd. And there are those who are concerned about their information getting into the wrong hands when they buy lunch, go to work, or hit the gym.
Some are of the opinion that people should be wary of literally getting into trouble with their own hands, as it is not just about the chip, but integration with other systems and data sharing. Perhaps Swedes are not giving enough thought to the potential dangers. Or maybe they are a really cool and carefree people.
It is no secret that people are cool with giving up some privacy for some kind of convenience, fun, enjoyment, or pleasure (think FaceApp). And in truth, the chip really does put the “C” in “convenient”. But whether it’s okay to accept sensitive personal data being shared widely before getting to grasps with the risks is something everyone needs to consider.
In a way, the microchip implant rave has got its timing right as it is coinciding with Sweden’s march toward going cashless, with notes and coins making up just 1 percent of the country’s economy currently. More so, the country has seen a significant decrease in certain crimes — with just two reported bank robberies last year compared to 110 in 2008. So maybe it’s not all bad.