Do Cyborgs dream of TPS reports?

Come on, you can admit it, we’ve all watched an episode of Star Trek and admired the doors that go ‘swoosh’ as they open and wondered “Why can’t I have those?”.

[Because, Fiction. Duh!]

Pure ecstasy

Imagine for a moment, that it wasn’t just the doors that opened automatically..what if you could approach a locked door and with the flick of a wrist — “Open Sesame”- your way in?

Or telling the kettle to go boil its self [in a non passive aggressive way] with a simple gesture?

This isn’t Star Trek. This is reality, at least it is in Sweden.

Epicenter, a Swedish company specializing in innovation and technology is embedding 150 employees with a chip.

“It’s an implant in the hand that enables them to digitize professional information and communicate with devices both personal and within Epicenter. Once ‘chipped’ with this technology, members can interact with the building with a simple swipe of the hand. Chips can also be programmed to hold contact information and talk to smartphone apps,” Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter, said.

This is a complicated juggling act under the umbrella of efficiency and innovation, the implant allows the company to collect data on the efficiency of their workers and like with any data, it will be analyzed and measured.

Forget efficiency! This is bordering on the Nosferatu side of creepy.

A) It throws up a lot of privacy issues for the sake of something as mundane as being able to buy a KitKat at the canteen in record time.

B) I am not a piece of cattle that needs to be chipped for the greater good — sure they’re doing it of their own free will but it becomes normalized.

“The boss wants to know how long you’ve spent on the toilet? Even I’m not that creepy!”

C) You only have to look at the invention of the dishwasher — it doesn’t save time and energy, it just delays the inevitable. You have to stack and unstack the damn thing, why would knowing how long it takes an employee to lay timber be of any interest unless you’re seriously considering moving the WC’s closer to the office? Unless…..you’re going to start charging them for time spent squatting?

The average American adult spends something close to 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smart phone, every day. [Click here for the source]

Now let’s assume that there are 30 days in every month and round that up to 3 hours spent on your smart phone.

There are 24 hours in a day — 30 days in a month

24 x 30 = 720

3 x 30 = 90

90 as a % of 720 is 12.5%

That’s roughly 3 days and a bit left over spent on your smartphone.

And if you’re between the age of 18–24 and in the UK you’re more likely to check your phone in the middle of the night.

On top of all that waffle, we have developed new social anxieties including 1/10 adults in the UK suffering from ‘stress and anxiety from slow internet’.

What’s my point?

We change and adapt behavior according to our environment — it’s part of our evolutionary journey —I provided the example of our usage of smart phones because we take it for granted and yet it has a disturbing impact on us.

So what will embedded technology do to us?

Remember the scene from the film ‘Office Space’ — where the protagonist Peter Gibbons, played by Ron Livingstone, is asked the same question by his superior and his superior’s superior, regarding cover sheets on his TPS reports?

A slacker and all round nice guy

The film is essentially mocking the absurdity of efficient inefficiency — taking something so mundane and stretching it for comic effect — implanting a chip into your employee is a step away from that. Replace the smug face of Bill Lumbergh with some neural impulse that tells you ‘You forgot the cover sheet on the TPS report!’.

And this begs the question…in the near future will Cyborgs dream of TPS reports?

With apologies to Philip K Dick.

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