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The reason thousands of Swedish people are inserting microchips into themselves

By Quartz

Thousands of people in Sweden have inserted microchips, which can function as contactless credit cards, key cards, and even rail cards, into their bodies. OnceRead full story

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  • Don’t dismiss this practice too fast: subcultures that embrace novel technology are often harbingers of the future. The explanation of “trans humanists” versus “wetware hackers” is fascinating (check it out). Yes, this sounds like it’s scripted for Hollywood, but over time the line between science fiction and reality blurs. We become what we mock.

  • Vidya S.
    Vidya S.

    But what happens when the chip-makers change their design? Or they suddenly decide to stop supporting a key functionality?

  • Mark  White
    Mark White Founder at White Label Media

    Extremely interesting. It seems very Matrix-y to me to have embedded chips; I think more than the robotic-human ick aspect is the privacy issue, especially in the U.S.. —also what happens if bad actors hack them and cause them to inflict pain or worse?

    I’d rather just wear an Apple Watch or similar

  • Sweden was one of the world's poorest countries at the beginning of the 20th century. They adopted the trappings of industrialization to make a better society - one that lifted the country out of poverty. in order to achieve this prosperity, the average Swede put his/her trust into the social contract. Such trust enables experiments like biohacking. But Sweden shouldn't forget that experiments can go wrong.

  • Definitely “feels more dystopian than practical,” at least to me! Besides the concerns about location tracking and data harvesting, I wonder what portion of the population is most keen on these chips. In the United States, I can’t imagine seniors being willing to undergo such a drastic change. I wonder if it is the young adults, most technically savvy, or the middle-aged, more trusting in government, that is the largest group of participants.

  • Peter Repucci
    Peter RepucciAssociate at Riverstone Holdings

    Should we really be this positive about the "underlying Swedish faith in technology"? Many forms of technology, even ones we think we're familiar with, are incredibly new and prone to malfunction, replacement, or even infiltration. We implicitly accept these risks when we use the internet or our phones, but does our existing risk-reward matrix account for actually implanting potentially untrustworthy technologies in our bodies? It's a similar issue to 23andme / Ancestry.com genetic testing - we need

    Should we really be this positive about the "underlying Swedish faith in technology"? Many forms of technology, even ones we think we're familiar with, are incredibly new and prone to malfunction, replacement, or even infiltration. We implicitly accept these risks when we use the internet or our phones, but does our existing risk-reward matrix account for actually implanting potentially untrustworthy technologies in our bodies? It's a similar issue to 23andme / Ancestry.com genetic testing - we need to be a lot more cautious than we are when voluntarily exposing our biology to tech. Count me out.

  • file under “seemed like a good idea at the time”

  • Lindsey  Avena
    Lindsey Avena

    I’m glad the people of Sweden have a strong trust for their government and a love for science as well as all things digital, but I’m definitely a part of the group of people who thinks these chips are a sign of dystopia. The research here is certainly needed, and it shows progression in a unique way, but I don’t see this as necessarily being convenient. Maybe that’s because it feels like an episode of “Black Mirror” to me... and also, conspiracy theories. IT’S COOL AND HORRIFYING AT THE SAME TIME. I’m so conflicted.

  • Lisa C
    Lisa CMedical Assistant

    Interesting that such optimism has emerged around this issue. I think it’s a stretch to compare this technology to the idea that biotechnology has aims to improve humans (as the article says to compete with AI).

    I think I’ll keep the cat-tracker out of my body, personally.

  • David Yakobovitch
    David YakobovitchAI Professor at Galvanize

    NFCs are quite practical today, from making payments to including a business card, and storing temporary information on visitations and movement, the technology is easily inserted and easily removed. What can be seen in movies like The Hunger Games to track peoples’ movements with chips is already real today, and as long as the data remains secure with the appropriate organizations, then you remain in good hands.

  • Laurel Touby
    Laurel ToubyManaging Partner/GM at Supernode Ventures

    I am so there! Is there a wetware community anywhere else?

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