Meet The Chipsons

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DAVID FRIEDMAN/GETTY IMAGES

The VeriChip can provide medical and identity information when scanned

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Prudent or not, implant technology is racing ahead with bionic speed. Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading in England, is working on the next step. In a few weeks, he will receive an implant that will wirelessly connect the nerves in his arm to a PC. The computer will record the activity of his nervous system and stimulate the nerves to produce small movements and sensations; such an implant could eventually help a person suffering from paralysis to move parts of the body the brain can't reach. If all goes well, Warwick will put a companion chip in his wife Irena and let the two implants communicate with each other. "If I move my finger, she'll feel something," he explains. "We'll be closer than anybody's been before--nervous system to nervous system."

There are plenty of skeptics, but Jeffrey Jacobs is not one of them. "People have been worried about Big Brother for years," he says. "The three of us want to be part of not just this new technology but an evolution of humanity."

The FDA is expected to approve the Jacobses' implants within two months, and there are other ways to speed up the evolution. Two weeks ago, Applied Digital Solutions signed a deal to distribute VeriChips in Brazil, where kidnapping has become epidemic, especially among the rich and powerful. Government officials hope that VeriChips implanted in people considered at high risk could be used to track victims via satellite. "Here [in the U.S.] we're still dealing with FDA and privacy and civil-liberties issues," says Bolton. "But we're not stopping. We're going into South America right now!" Technology has a way of moving faster than legislation, and if it comes down to a race between cyborgs and Senators, guess who will win? Resistance is futile.

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