What is coming to kill us now? As per the Guardian and Telegraph, a Swedish firm called Biohax is in advanced talks with a number of UK firms – some with employees in the hundreds of thousands, which really does narrow it down to "probably the NHS" – to implant their staff with grain-of-rice-sized microchips. Both Britain's biggest employer organisation, CBI, and Britain's main trade union, TUC, have said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Fuck that."
Why? Well, ostensibly it's for security – a microchip embedded in the webbing between your thumb and forefinger (one of the top two worst places I can imagine getting a paper cut, the top one being a niche zone along the ol' shaftus, and I for one don't want a reformed piercer lad with flapping ear-plug holes embedding a rice-sized chip anywhere near there) allows you to get past your building security without a card, but also the chips can be used to store medical information, open doors and start cars – or, if you get lost in the SE23 area and are found again after a short but focused Missing Poster campaign, you can be identified at the vet like a big wet cat
The case against: Listen, I like having a job so I can pay rent and buy trinkets and such, but I got to tell you – and I sure hope my direct line manager and editor isn't reading this too closely! – I really do leave this thing at the door the second I waltz out of here, 6.30PM on the dot every day. I sleep the sleep of a worry-less toddler. My mind is blank and serene. And then I wake up again, the next day, and immediately think: 'Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god. This shit again.' It’s relentless! We have to work every day until we die! And I like my job!
So, you know, I'm not exactly cock-a-hoop about having my pass card permanently embedded in the webbing between my finger and my thumb. It just feels like taking my job too seriously, like taking my laptop home with me so I can do work on the train.
Other troubleshooting: listen, do you really trust companies and big faceless corporations with any sort of data that can be stored inside your thumb webbing or, worse (and I am being paranoid and alluding to technology that does not yet exist, the microchips can not currently collect data for example, random example, "how much cocaine is in your blood at any one time"), collect data? What happens when you change job: does someone at your current employer solemnly run a big magnet over your body to wipe you of office access? Do you have to get another chip put in at the next place? Also: if you want to use slightly-too-much-personal-data to allow employees access to a building, just take fingerprints, my dude! There is no need to pincer a tiny chip into my hand! I do not need to be augmented like a robot just to come here and do typing!
The case for: I mean, be honest, how often do you lose your pass card and really piss the security guy off on front desk who has already sort of had it up to here with you after that week you got four ASOS parcels delivered over the course of three days? Problems like that can be avoided if you just allow a company to embed a rice-sized grain of technology in you like a fucking bullet.
Dystopia Rating: Listen, I barely trust every company that has ever employed me to do my tax code properly, so like absolute fuck do I trust them enough to point a pointless microchip in my body. Sure, if I'm given access to high, high, high, high, high security government documents – in my next job, I’m imagining pivoting from "whimsical content creator" to "full spy" – then yeah, I can mildly see the point of having microchip access to certain rooms in certain locked buildings. But equally, just let me scan my retina about it like a bad guy in a Mission: Impossible movie. Also: anyone can feasibly saw my hand off and use the limb stump to gain access to any building I can get into, which currently means they can walk into the VICE office, open my laptop, password their way in (I screamed my password out while they were sawing my hand off: I couldn’t help it) (I was bleeding a lot), and now they have access to all the PR emails I delete without reading and a bunch of saved eBay searches. Really wasn't worth the effort, was it? We went off piste: I give this news an 87% Dystopia Rating.