The idea of millions of humans walking around with a microchip in their body may seem outrageous, if not laughable.
Well, I hate to disappoint you (or delight you) but today we will connect the few remaining dots to that future. Because believe me, the dots are indeed few.
For those of you who think chip implants are science fiction, you may want to start with this EU paper. Add this to the long list of reasons the EU is a bad joke.
“Will microchip implants be the next big thing in Europe?” asks Euronews. Who can resist the convenience of not needing wallets or credit cards to buy groceries and use public transport? After all, those chips are already “used in pets to identify them when they are lost,” a recent BBC article reassures us. No wonder “thousands of people” are already using them, for convenience and to comply with “passport mandates.”
Still think this is far removed from reality?
Have you heard of the AirTag? Of course you have, those things are everywhere. “Attach one to your keys. Put another in your backpack,” says Apple, and “losing things will be a thing of the past.”
Most people haven’t quite understood how AirTag works.
Those things don’t require internet access. “Hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices around the world” help you find your AirTag, and “you can even find devices that are offline or powered off.”
The chip in those AirTags is called U1 and it’s included in all recent iPhones, Watches, and AirPods. All those devices are constantly chatting to each other even when they are switched off. Bottom line is, Apple users are already “tagged” 24/7.
Of course, those chips are not implanted in the human body — yet.
Which brings us back to the topic at hand.
How do you bridge the gap between science fiction and mass adoption? How do you get hundreds of millions of humans to insert a chip into their bodies?
Today I will tell you exactly how.
But first we need to understand something about Apple.
Have you noticed a glaring pattern with the features in their products?
Take FaceID, for example.
FaceID came to life in 2017, with iPhone 10. For the first time, users could login to their smartphone with just their face. No passwords, no hassle. A few years earlier, in 2013, it was Apple again that perfected TouchID and the ability to access your phone with nothing but your finger.
Big tech companies, including IBM, tried but failed to popularize finger scanning. In fact, a decade or two ago the idea of using your finger — let alone your face — to identify yourself was the premise of Jason Bourne action movies.
Wait a minute, what else did we see in those movies? Ah yes, chip implants. Where else did we see those? We saw them in James Bond films, here and here (did you catch the religious gibe on this one? Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen).
Hollywood has been seeding the idea of chip implants for decades. But if anyone were to suggest that chip implants will, in a few short years, become commonplace, they’d be laughed out of the room.
Because chip implants are not normalized yet. That’s where Apple comes in. Apple’s job is to sweeten the pill. But before I overwhelm you with fantastic conjectures we need to slow down and understand Apple.
You see, Apple is not a technology company
Most people attribute the graphical user interface to Apple. That’s not true. Apple lifted graphical user interfaces from Xerox. What Apple really did, and the reason they became successful, was to make computers sexy. Indeed, they made GUIs look so good you wanted "to lick" them.
In a similar fashion, Apple didn’t invent fingerprint-reading. They bought a company (AuthenTec) and within months it became part of the iPhone. As for FaceID, they obtained it from yet another company (PrimeSense).
That’s what Apple does. They take existing technology, beautify it, and make the masses want it. The company’s unstated goal is to shepherd and command the tastes of humanity. No wonder Apple is so intertwined with the music and Hollywood industries.
So the masses will lap up anything with an Apple logo on it. They will happily share all their biometrics, IDs, and health metrics; they will carry precise geolocation sensors and miniaturized microphones; and pretty soon they will even wear those on their heads.
Now here lies the important part — please pay attention.
Apple says everything they do is private. Personal data never leaves the user’s device, they say — and even when it does, it is randomized and anonymous. But here’s the thing:
It doesn’t really matter if Apple’s products are private or not.
Because Apple’s mandate ends with mass adoption.
Once Apple normalizes a technology — biometric login, health records, digital IDs, and so on — it then becomes possible for governments and authorities to introduce and mandate their own “enhanced” version.
Apple makes dystopian technologies fashionable and agreeable. It then passes the baton to governments, the UN, and the WHO, who can then enforce the same thing — minus the “privacy” part — on the masses.
Let’s see how this works.
At first, TouchID and FaceID were exclusive to Apple’s premium smartphones. The cheaper versions relied on older and more boring methods, like typing passwords. Only the cool customers who could shell out thousands of dollars, got to enjoy the privilege of biometric login. As such, the iPhone made biometric login an aspirational and fashionable “upgrade”. Apple made people want to give their biometrics away.
Fast forward a few years.
Today, face scanning is not only commonplace but often mandatory. From banking services, to car hailing apps, even dating apps — more and more users are now required to upload a 3D scan of their face. Those companies and institutions couldn’t care less about privacy, but at this level of adoption it doesn’t matter any more.
As it turns out, the promise of privacy was used as bait to onboard a critical mass of people.
None of that would have happened without the iPhone. The aspirational strength of Apple’s brand is the ultimate Trojan horse. Make something fashionable, make people crave it, and you’ll have them stepping over each other to give away their freedoms.
Did you think those long lines outside the Apple Stores were unplanned and accidental?
Artificial scarcity is as old as time.
When potatoes arrived in Greece in the early nineteenth century, the Greeks were initially disinterested in them. So, the local administrative leader ordered for the potatoes to be offloaded at the docks, in public display, and instructed his men to guard them. Soon, rumors spread that those things were precious and eventually locals started stealing them. Adoption ensued.
Where else have we seen this trick?
Oh, I don’t know, did any health products appear to be scarce in 2021? Of course they were. Back then, mainstream was telling us how the rich and wealthy jumped the line to obtain them. Oh, and how millions in undeveloped countries could not get them. Soon enough, millions were queuing up for those health products with fervor and enthusiasm, as if they were queing up for iPhones.
Queues are a ritual. Make something a ritual and the masses will make it their religion.
That’s how mass psychology works.
Imagine a dictator demanding his subjects to pay for and carry their surveillance apparatus everywhere they go. Imagine them trying to compel everyone to upload their intimate discussions, their location, and health metrics to a central database. Imagine them trying to impose such a tyranny on the masses. The populace would revolt, right?
But only a year ago Australian authorities had no trouble getting their subjects to submit photos of themselves at regular intervals, to prove their l0ckd0wn compliance. Why would the masses care? They’ve been cataloging their frappuccinos on Instagram for years.
Think about this. How else could such tyranny be installed? There is no other way. As Aldous Huxley said, the only way to impose tyranny is by getting people to “love their servitude”.
Apple is the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Again, it doesn’t matter if Apple’s products are private or not. It doesn’t matter because it will not be Apple that forces them on people. Once hundreds of millions sign up for TouchID, FaceID, and 24/7 Air-tagging, authorities and institutions can then step in with a mandatory and non-privacy-preserving equivalent.
Do you see what is going on here? It’s a 3-step rug pull:
Inception: Hollywood seeds oppressive technology X into people’s subconscious.
Normalization: Apple makes X fashionable and sexy
Oppression: Authorities make X mandatory.
As for those chip implants, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple buys Neuralink, but that’s a story for another day.
For now, remember this:
Every consumer tech product, every iPhone, AirPod, and AirTag, is a glorified cheese trap. The way forward, as I see it, is two-fold:
Extract the cheese without getting caught: Use the tools, but do so judiciously. Navigate, communicate, and take everything you need from them; but minimize your personal cost – your time, your privacy, your morals and ethics.
Example: When I need to navigate, I rely on offline maps. The OsmAnd app is a great open source option, but you can download areas in Google Maps too. You don’t need to be online, to use GPS. I do have a prepaid sim card but I only insert it in the phone when I need it.
Use technology, but do so on your terms.
Find your own cheese: Take daily steps to wean yourself off of the cheese trap. Example: I only read physical books and I keep a pen and notepad in my backpack. If a thought comes to mind I jot it down. If I meet someone and want to get their contact details, I write them down. If it gets dark, I pull out my small Ledlenser. The phone remains switched off and tucked away.
So what are you waiting for?
Switch off your smartphone, lift and widen your gaze, get out in nature. Re-wild yourself and wean yourself off of the illusion.
And if you enjoy my work, feel free to buy me a coffee or send me some sats.
i think you're onto something. Thanks for writing 🙏
Another excellent writing.