A year later, Gasson infected his own implant with a computer virus, one that he could pass on to other computer systems if the building's networks were programmed to read his chip. As Gasson breezed around the the workplace, spreading the virus and corrupting computer systems, certain areas of the building became inaccessible to his colleagues.
At the time of the experiment, theoretical physicist and author of "The Future of the Mind" Michio Kaku told FOX News that demonstrating the ability to spread infection was an "important point" because "we're going to have more chips in our body and clothing."
Thousands of Americans already have implanted medical devices, including pacemakers, which are inserted into the chest to treat abnormal heart rhythms, and cochlear implants, which help deaf people to hear.
But the future, Gasson says, is going to focus on implantable technology for healthy people. Part of the reason is that we continually look for ways to make our lives easier. The question is whether we're willing accept both the unintended and unknown consequences that come with giving up partial control of our bodies to technology.
Human vs. Machine
Implantable microchips provide a more intimate connection with technology than that of any other portable electronic device, like a cell phone or iPod, because the tag becomes a direct part of us when it's inserted into our body. Implants "have the potential to change the very essence of what it is to be human," Gasson said at a 2012 TEDX Talk.
The susceptibility of human microchips to cyber attacks is one worry, but Gasson wanted to explore issues beyond common concerns related to privacy and security.
That's why he conducted the experiment in two stages: A surgeon initially inserted a clean computer chip into his hand, and the computer virus was unleashed a little over a year later. During that time, Gasson and his team were particularly interested in studying the psychological implications of implanted devices.
"There's an underlying feeling that [having an implantable device] is an alien phenomenon," said Gasson, a cybernetics expert. The only way to properly explore the psychological aspect was to have the device himself, he said.
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