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Big Revolution - Branded like cattle

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Welcome to the start of another week of Big Revolution. My inbox is always open to feedback, so alway
 
November 12 · Issue #260 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week of Big Revolution. My inbox is always open to feedback, so always feel free to hit ‘reply’ anytime and let me know what you think.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
  • Enterprise software company Qualtrics has pulled out of its planned IPO to be acquired by SAP for $8bn. This is the second time this year a US tech firm has pulled out of an IPO to be acquired instead.
The big thought
Credit Stijn te Strake on Unsplash
Branded like cattle
Would you willingly receive an implanted microchip from your employer? A story on the Guardian website over the weekend looked at how British firms are considering implanting chips into staff for security purposes:
“The tiny chips, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, are similar to those for pets. They enable people to open their front door, access their office or start their car with a wave of their hand, and can also store medical data.”
Apparently, big legal and financial firms are attracted to the idea because it’s better than relying on security passes to make sure only authorised personnel enter areas containing sensitive data.
Alternative take: it’s like a form of white-collar cattle branding.
Any programme that introduced these chips into widespread use at a company would likely be optional. But things that are optional can quickly become preferable. “Want to access the 12th floor? You’ll need to be chipped first.” It’s easy to imagine people volunteering to be chipped in order to make sure they can stay ahead in their careers.
And as that practice spreads, maybe the idea of microchips being required to receive benefits payments from the government comes in. After all, it works so well for businesses.
And then it could become oh so more convenient to be chipped than not. The report says a Swedish firm called (perhaps alarmingly) Biohax, “is working with the state-owned Swedish rail firm Statens Järnvägar, to allow its passengers to travel via chip implants rather than train tickets.”
Who knows, maybe we’ll all take to these chips and look back in 30 years and wonder why people were so scared of them. But we should be seriously wary of anything that potentially limits our freedom and privacy. These chips could track us and restrict us in ways we won’t know or understand.
I don’t think we’re quite ready to be ‘bionic’ in that way quite yet.
One big read
The Instagrammers Next Door, Plugging Brands for Peanuts (or Shampoo) The Instagrammers Next Door, Plugging Brands for Peanuts (or Shampoo)
The New York Times looks at ‘nano-influencers.’ “Their lack of fame is one of the qualities that make them approachable. When they recommend a shampoo or a lotion or a furniture brand on Instagram, their word seems as genuine as advice from a friend.”
One big tweet
Ashley Mayer
There was a time when an $8B enterprise acquisition would have blown up my timeline. Now it's a blip. 🤷‍♀️
3:11 AM - 12 Nov 2018
’$8bn isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Something else.’
That’s all for today...
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