Big Brother, if and when he arrives, will start out looking small.
Take that mundane office badge or key card you use to pass security before entering your office. Rather than having to carry one around, and risk losing it, technological advances make it easy enough these days to get an RFID microchip implanted in your hand. What's the big deal? Sure, you might feel a little pinch when you get the grain-of-rice-size device implanted, but you won't ever have to worry again about leaving that stupid badge at home. Plus, you get to pretend you're a Jedi whenever you pass through the sliding security turnstile.
At New Fusion, a Belgium-based company, eight employees recently volunteered to be "chipped", allowing them to enter the company's building and connect to their personal workspace on their computers with just a flick of the hand, Brussels-based daily Le Soir reports. The first such application was done in Sweden two years ago, where the device was developed, but the practice may begin to start spreading to new countries, both inside and outside the workplace.
But while RFID implants hold the potential to revolutionize how we interact with certain objects, the practice poses a "real danger," Alexis Deswaef, president of Belgium's Human Rights League told French daily Le Figaro. "We're now tracking employees from within their own flesh. It's a tool for total control."
Indeed, such "innovations" raise a number of difficult questions. Should we sacrifice our bodily integrity for modern practicality? What's the cost of ceding control of personal privacy? And, as humans, will we manage to impose limits on technological developments — or will the technology "take on a life of its own"?
At a time when the disciples of transhumanism, "a new kind of Promethean hubris" as Dr. Agneta Sutton put it in a 2015 article, are making plans to merge man and machine, it's becoming increasingly urgent that we address these questions. We can start small, just by glancing down at our hands.