For numerous years, considered to be yet another wild conspiracy theory, human microchips are currently making their way onto the market. The implanted Radio Frequency Identification chip, more commonly regarded as the RFID chip – considered by many as the Mark of the Beast – has gone hot, fully functional and ready for use.
An RFID chip is a tiny microchip, ordinarily smaller than a grain of rice, which can store around 2000 bites of data and can be injected directly into your body. It serves pretty much the same function as a barcode or magnetic strip on the back of a credit card and supplies a unique identifier to that object. In the same way that a barcode or mag strip must be scanned in order to access its information, the part of your body carrying the RFID device must also be scanned to operate.
This device purports to take convenience to another level, exceeding the current cell phone technology which allows for us to quickly pay for a cup of coffee or grab an Uber. In the near future the RFID chip could enable us to do the same, without ever needing to carry around any cash, credit, or debit cards. All this financial data could be accessed directly from your implanted RFID chip.
Since last October in the U.S., 1 in 5 payments at Starbucks were made through the company’s mobile app. And based on eMarketer, in 2014 Americans spent more than $3.68 billion utilizing tap-to-pay technology. In 2015 that number hit $8.71 billion and by 2019 it’s forecasted to hit an astounding $210.45 billion. Apple CEO Tim Cook forecasts that the next generation of young people “will not know what money is.”
Alarming as this may sound, it’s completely possible; in just a short period of time the usage of physical money has dwindled to the point of being a rarity, as it appears everything can be done more effectively with cards. Cards also reduce the worry of not carrying enough cash, or of having that cash ripped off.
Take a look at this ad below, released almost 10 years ago from IBM.
To be truthful, this does seem pretty fantastic. Just consider: not having to tote around your wallet and a variety of cards, not having to stress about having enough cash on hand – everything you require with you at all times.
Can This Technology Be Employed Today?
Charlie Warzel from Buzzfeed News chose to find out. After spending 30 days with no wallet, depending solely on his cell phone for day-to-day payments, he chose to try out the RFID chip and provided the following reasoning:
To hear Silicon Valley tell it, the broken-in leather wallet is on life support. I wanted to pull the plug. Which is how, ultimately, I found myself in this sterile Swedish backroom staring down a syringe the size of a pipe cleaner. I was here because I wanted to see the future of money. But really, I just wanted to pay for some shit with a microchip in my hand.
What Are The Likely Down sides To This Technology?
Appear too good to be true? It very well may be. One foreseeable issue is that shortly we may all be required to get these chips, if only because the retail and financial landscapes change so much to adapt to them. If this technology does become widespread, then retail outlets, restaurants, and grocery stores may start to phase out the traditional procedures of payment like cash and debit/credit magnetic stripe readers. The truth is, much like the commercial above depicts, there is a good chance that in the future, there will not even be anyone there to take your payment; you will basically walk out and everything will be scanned and charged at the same time.
The RFID chip also doubles as a tracking system. Your every move could effortlessly be monitored, and governments may very well be granted free reign to take out late payments for things including income tax.
Bearing in mind new developments like online banking and scan and deposit checks, even the need to physically go to a bank could become a thing of the past. To some this may all sound like a welcome transformation, but I argue we should be concerned about being physically removed from our money like this, only experiencing it as numbers on a screen – though come to think of it, that’s not so far from the state of things today; money is fundamentally just data, just details on a computer.
Is It Safe?
Apart from the threats of identity theft and hacked finances, there are also safety hazards to think about. As if our cell phones and the electromagnetic frequencies surrounding us at all times weren’t bad enough, the RFID chip would be specifically inside our bodies, connected at all times. It has become common awareness currently that having your cell phone too close to your body for long periods of time can be damagingto your health and could lead to cancer. But with RFID chips, we do not even have the choice of removing them when not in use. And every time we make a transaction, radio frequencies will be beaming instantly at our bodies, which indicates even more frequencies coursing through the air. I can’t be the only one who finds this worrisome.
What do you think? Do the advantages outweigh the cons? Would you or wouldn’t you receive an RFID chip implanted into your body?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!