Would it really be a normal week in the United Kingdom if there wasn’t a new huge talking point about Brexit brought up? Every time I think that they’re surely exhausted all the avenues, someone manages to come up with something else that captures the attention of the masses. Some because they’re things that should really have been considered before the first vote in the referendum was even cast, such as the whole issue with the Irish border and how this new gateway to Europe is going to be managed, and some because they open up a wider debate that could pull up controversies aside from how they can be applied to the border question.

The latest falls somewhere in the latter category and came about after a man from Bury phoned in to radio talk show LBC with what he saw as the only real solution to policing the border from Ireland into the UK should the people of Ireland not have their own referendum. He claimed that the entire population of Ireland should be microchipped so that the government could keep tabs on who was where because number plate recognition systems aren’t exactly fool proof.

I’m not entirely sure just how serious he was about that although from the sounds of it, either he truly believed it to be a good solution or he was a very convincing actor. The radio host certainly wasn’t a fan of the idea and you could tell that he was trying to restrain himself from saying something that shouldn’t really be broadcast across the airwaves but even still it was a close thing.

It did however make me think. While it may not be anything near to a solution for the infamous border problem, it could be something useful to start considering in a wider picture.

In the past few years, Northern Ireland became the first devolved region to bring in compulsory microchipping of dogs. The fact is that we are able to microchip animals with a chip can lasts their lifetime and can updated as many times as necessary with important information that can be accessed in an instant if you have a scanner.

Realistically with the way technology is progressing, there is likely to come a time when mandatory microchipping of humans is considered. There have already been several experiments involving humans using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) implants, dating as far back as 1998 when a chip was inserted which could open doors and turn on lights before being taken out just over a week later. In 2009, a British scientist had a microchip implanted into his hand and has yet to have it removed. Several other people have done similar things just out of sheer personal interest and programmed them for his convenience.

I can see how the idea of a microchip in a human would appeal to some. I personally can see some benefits to it but think personal safety and security would need to be addressed before it became anything more than a philosophical thought process on how technology is taking over the human race.

We’re in an era where people rarely leave the house without their keys, phone and wallet and if we forget one of the trio, we’re pretty stumped. More than likely, once a person realises, they’re turn back to pick up the missing variable even if it makes them late. You can’t deny that life would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to remember all those things and could lock the front door, start the car and pay for the shopping all with a swipe of your hand. It’s very futuristic but many in the technology field believe it could easily become a reality.

There are already human microchips in use that are mainly designed to store information and these are ones that I think are actually a pretty good idea. I have my phone set up so that should the worst happen and I’m in an accident, the emergency services can access my basic information that could prove vital to saving my life and contacting my next of kin. However, getting that information is dependant on my phone still being functional and charged. Otherwise, I’m just any Jane Doe with no medical history. A microchip could be programmed to hold that information and the likelihood of it failing is going to be much less than a phone.

For those who have serious medical conditions or special needs, it could be lifesaving. If a paramedic could scan someone’s left shoulder while they’re unconscious and find out that they’re a diabetic, it means they know that blood sugars need to be closely monitored. When a person is in distress, sometimes all that is needed is a kind voice speaking their name to calm them down a little I think one of the main concerns that people have over microchipping is the whole privacy aspect. At the moment, embedded chips have not been developed sufficiently to de used as a tracking device which means that it really isn’t a solution to the border problem that we’re still none the wiser on.

However, until recently the majority of us were unaware of just how much information about us our phones and various social media accounts were storing. I doubt there are many who read through all of the terms and conditions when we install a new app or sign up to a new service, but by doing that, we’re giving various developers free reign to collect details about us that they really don’t need to know. The recent allegations against Cambridge Analytica include the firm harvesting data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles to create a system that could send out specifically targeted adverts to the public ahead of the US election. It’s not all that surprising: as the Westminster election approached last year, I was inundated with political adverts on Facebook, YouTube and even within apps that make you watch a video to earn a free bonus. It did become obvious that my data wasn’t easily taken as I was getting videos about Labour and the Conservative parties despite them not even standing here but others did experience more relevant adverts.

I just think it would be pretty handy to have a tiny piece of technology somewhere easily accessible on my body that could confirm that I am who I say I am and could open a door when my hands are full. What can I say? I’m one of those people who really likes convenience.

I don’t however agree that microchipping should become mandatory for humans. You have to have a lot of trust in wider society to allow one of these things to be put into your body. As research is still in its early stages, there’s no telling how it will function over a lifetime because we obviously naturally live longer than our furry four-legged companions and are susceptible to many more known complications than they are. No-one has ever wanted to hack a dog either so using animal microchips as prototypes aren’t going to bring about as many shortcuts as researchers may hope. Dogs don’t have bank accounts, memberships, or private information that could be compromised for sinister purposes.

For now, you could get yourself microchipped but it’s really only for novelty purposes. While there are some companies in America who have employees consent to a microchip as part of their building security system, they’re only a minority even there.

It’s not going to be any kind of magical Brexit solution so I don’t think we have to worry about secret government operatives covertly trying to implant us any time soon. The outrage that would cause would be much worse than having a few people sneak into Europe to go to the beach for the day. Unfortunately for Theresa May and her comrades, they’re actually going to have to put some effort into creating a workable solution instead.