Better Living Through Big Data

‘Augmented’ humans, the experiment that might happen in France

With an NFC chip implanted in your hand, you no longer need a key to unlock your front door or start your car. You can leave all your loyalty cards at home today, and free yourself of even more clutter tomorrow! Would you try it?

 

Simply move your hand towards the door to open it, go to the gym without your membership card, borrow library books without having to hand anything over and say goodbye to loyalty cards. This is now the day-to-day life of Hannes Sjoblad, Chief Disruption Officer at an innovation accelerator in Stockholm and “transhumanism” ambassador — he transforms the human condition through technology.

Certain trailblazers are now ready for the ‘augmented’ human experience. Hannes has had an NFC chip implant in his hand for two years. The scar has completely disappeared and you wouldn’t even know that the 40-year old Swede had an implant. As a result, Hannes has been able to get rid of most of the cards that were cluttering up his wallet.

His aim is not to talk about technology, but to live it! “The chip allows me to hand over my business card easily and it also replaces my car keys, my badge to get into the office or even my gym membership card,” he explained. “But this is just the beginning. In the next 5 years, I am sure that things will have moved on a lot and large organizations will be including chips in their innovations. I think that people will be able to use these chips to go on the subway, go shopping or archive their medical records.”

A Geek’s Experiment

Close by, a woman has just had a chip implanted. She manages a start-up which produces chips for pets and wants to know what it is like for them. With his smartphone, Hannes is trying to configure the chip but he is struggling to pair them — a problem with the angle and the distance, apparently. Far from being a geek, the woman seems a bit lost when Hannes explains how she can get the most out of her chip. However, this is not the case for the young developer next to her, who is a self-confessed tinkerer. He is already thinking about the programs that he will be able to install on his chip. If you have a little programming talent, you can upload any software you want onto your chip.

Reassuring… or not?

Nevertheless, it all still seems a bit crude. “The operation,” which is almost painless according to those who went to the “Implant Party,” was carried out by a tattoo artist/piercer from the Paris area in the middle of the Futur en Seine event (but he also does it elsewhere in France). On average, an implant costs between 80 and 200 euro. If experiment participants decide that they no longer want their chip, they will need to have it removed by a doctor. We do not know if this wave-emitting foreign body has any long-term health effects either. Chips also contain a lot of personal information and data security is a concern, despite Hannes’ reassurance, as he explains that you really have to be very close by to access the data.

How many augmented individuals will there be in the world? It’s difficult to know… Although some people believe that there will only be a few hundred, Hannes Sjoblad is a lot more optimistic, putting forward a figure of 2,000 people based on the community that he leads.

Nathalie Bloch Sitbon

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