By Liz Quirin

'Micro Chips,' Anyone?

The family dinner conversation recently revolved around having a micro-chip for adults. We already have them for dogs in case they are lost, but what about people. A recent news article detailed the adventures of two elderly men who left their assisted living home in Mascoutah to go to the grocery store, got “lost” and were located in Oklahoma, safe and “more or less” sound. Wow, what a trip to the store.

We began to debate whether having a micro-chip embedded under the skin could have located them sooner.
That led to a conversation about embedding micro-chips under the skin of small children who, if lost or abducted, could be found quickly and returned safely to their families.

It’s an interesting topic; we all agreed on that, and that’s about all. Some family members brought up the spectre of “big brother” who could access all kinds of records for the person with the chip. It was an invasion of privacy some said. Others brought up the issue of safety for children and adults who could no longer care for themselves but were unwilling to admit it and accept help.

It would give new meaning to keeping track of teenagers who tell their parents they are going to one place and actually have other plans they are unwilling to share with them.

Perhaps, in years to come, we won’t be troubled by making these choices — someone else will have made them for us. Being schooled as individualists, craving independence and a penchant for privacy on many levels, a fierce battle would undoubtedly be waged against this kind of “protection.” Would everyone be required to have this micro chip?

Who would decide at what age it can be used, and who would ultimately have access to the information on the chip?
While it may seem that this is too “futuristic” to think about now, consider how many people 25 or 30 years ago would have believed we’d be carrying our phones in our pockets, surfing not at the beach but on the internet, nuking our foods instead of worrying about rogue states unleashing nuclear weapons against God-fearing and law-abiding citizens in democratically elected nations.

While we ponder all the possibilities, and science fiction does remain truly fiction, we must confront issues with far-reaching implications like a micro chip for people just like us. In fact, if we don’t discuss the moral and ethical boundaries of these kinds of possibilities, we may not be prepared to accept the consequences.
Although I would love to have known exactly where my children were as teens, I don’t relish the idea of them ordering a micro chip for me to find out where I am all day every day, even if I thought they were interested.

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