Poll: Implantable Brain Chips Are Just Too Much

September 26, 2016

4:00 pm

Every single generation finds a tech advancement to hate. Think about Baby Boomers complaining about young people always being plugged into their cell phones. Then take a look at history: One member of the older generation in 1902 once wrote an editorial letter in favor of walking places instead of falling for that darn “rapid artificial locomotion.” Similar complaints have been levied against tech from the bluetooth to the car (both the self-driving kind and the original recipe), and even the concept of the novel.

So what’s the latest tech advancement to gain the fear and condemnation of the American public in 2016? Probably the concept of an under-the-skin, implantable brain chip. Here’s a brand new poll from the good people at Pew Research to prove it.

The Results

Implantable brain chips are becoming a reality. While a minority are okay with this, a significant majority are not. Here’s the breakdown from Pew:

“Some 54% of U.S. adults foresee a future where computer chips will routinely be embedded in our bodies. But as with other kinds of potential human enhancements, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that more Americans are worried about the idea of an implanted brain chip (69%) than are enthusiastic (34%). And a minority of U.S. adults – 32% – would want this implanted device for themselves.”

When asked about chip implants that are permanent rather than temporary, even fewer respondents were okay: 51% said a permanent chip was even less acceptable.

So What’s the Future?

Look, I kind of agree. The concept of having tech directly inside my body sounds creepy to me, too. But it’s likely to slowly become reality. After all, there are a few direct benefits.

First, implantable chips can monitor your own body far better than even a wearable like a smartwatch. Would you put up with an implantable brain chip if it could sense the instant you started having a heart attack, could call 911 automatically and wirelessly, and could offer any information about your medical history that the medics needed as soon as possible? That could be life-saving.

Parents are already looking past their squeamishness in order to try to keep track of their baby. Here’s what I wrote on that a couple months ago:

“‘If we don’t get a call a day, I’ll probably think our phone system’s broken.’ That’s Todd Morris, CEO of BrickHouse Security, a security and surveillance company in New York. He’s talking to Observer about requests from parents hoping to implant a microchip into their baby that would allow them to track the little guy constantly.”

According to Pew Research, the public is warming to the idea of an implantable brain chip that helps the user deal with a mental or physical disability, but has not been convinced that a chip implanted in a healthy person is called for. But we’ll have a younger generation eventually. And if history tells us anything, it’s that today’s highly controversial tech is tomorrow’s totally essential upgrade.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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