Swedes Are Inserting Microchips Into Themselves – Here’s Why
Thousands of people in Sweden have inserted microchips, which can function as contactless credit cards, key cards and even rail cards, into their bodies. Once the chip is underneath your skin, there is no longer any need to worry about misplacing a card or carrying a heavy wallet.
But to many people, the idea of carrying a microchip in their bodies feels more dystopian than practical.
But actually, the factors behind why roughly 3,500 Swedes have had microchips implanted in them are more complex than you might expect.
This phenomenon reflects Sweden’s unique biohacking scene. If you look underneath the surface, Sweden’s love affair with all things digital goes much deeper than these microchips.
Just as computer hackers hack computers, biohackers hack anything biological.
Biohacking is also a culture and a diverse one, with many different subgroups – all with different types of interests, goals and ideologies.
But within this diversity there are two main groups: “wetware hackers” and transhumanists.
Wetware hackers are citizen science hobby biologists who build laboratory equipment from household utensils.
The other group are the transhumanists, who focus on enhancing and improving the human body — with the aim, in the long run, of improving the human race. Only through bettering ourselves — and escaping biological boundaries — will humans be able to compete with AI in the future.
North American groups are concerned with developing alternatives to the established healthcare practices. European groups, meanwhile, are more focused on finding ways of helping people in developing countries or engaging in .
But Swedish biohacking culture actually differs from the rest of Europe. Swedish biohackers are generally part of the transhumanist movement.
What Is It About Sweden?
So why are Swedes so happy to put microchips into their body?
If it is part of the explanation, it is certainly not the whole truth. More convincing is the fact that in Sweden, people have a strong faith in all things digital.
Over the past two decades, the Swedish government has invested heavily in technology infrastructure – and it shows.
After all, this latest phenomenon is just one manifestation of an underlying faith in technology that makes Sweden quite unique.
(This article was first published on The Conversation and has been republished here with permission.)