Cyborgs at Work: Employees Get Implanted With Microchips

Cyborgs at Work: Employees Get Implanted With Microchips

Published By: CBS News/AP, 4/3/2017

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Epicenter, a Swedish startup, is implanting microchips into their employees as replacements for swipe cards. Using Near Field Communication (NFC), the microchips provide identifying data to devices such as printers and doors, providing more convenience to employees.  This technology has never before used for such a broad group of people; demonstrating that it can be beneficial in the workplace suggests that it may quickly become more widely used, despite security and privacy risks.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 9.7

Extended Discussion Questions

  • If you worked for a company that wanted or offered to implant a microchip into you, what questions or concerns might you have?
    • Are there modifications you would want to have made to the implant before you would use it?
    • Generally, do you agree or disagree with microchips being implanted in humans? Why or why not?
  • Do you think wide use of such implants in humans would be more beneficial or more harmful to companies? Why?
    • How might using this implant impact the way employees work? Do you think it would be more likely to increase or decrease productivity? (Or neither?)
    • The article mentions employee privacy issues that could possibly arise. Do you think this would make companies more or less likely to offer this technology?
  • Do you think wide use would be more beneficial or more harmful for the chipped employees?
    • What could the chip designers do to make it most likely to be beneficial?
  • The article mentions that the implants are passive — devices can read the information on them, but they can’t read information from other devices.
    • Why do you think they are designed that way?
    • What consequences does this have for how they can be used?
  • What are some potential uses for these types of chips outside the workplace?
    • What are some potential problems that could arise from those uses?
  • The first use of this technology in humans seems to be among those with higher economic and social status (such as workers at a tech startup). Would you think differently about it if the earliest uses were among those with lower economic and social status? Why or why not?

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
  • LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
  • LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.3.1A Innovations enabled by computing raise legal and ethical concerns.
  • EK 7.3.1G Privacy and security concerns arise in the development and use of computational systems and artifacts.
  • EK 7.3.1J Technology enables the collection, use, and exploitation of information about, by, and for individuals, groups, and institutions.

Banner Image:Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

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