Listening Topic: Medicine – Conversation about bio-chip implants

A. Read the statements below. Then listen to the conversation. After you listen, check the fur main ideas presented by the speakers. (All the ideas are mentioned, but only four of them are main ideas).

___  Implanted microchips can be linked to an ID number and important medical or financial information.

___ Bio-chip implants can be life-saving.

___ c   Bio-chip implants can make life easier.

___ Privacy and safety are two concerns people have about bio-chip implants.

___ e   Last year, a doctor received a bio-chip.

___ f   A European nightclub is using bio-chips.

B. Read the questions and answer the ones you can. Then listen to the conversation again and complete your answers. Listen again if necessary.

1   What size are the bio-chips, and how are they implanted?


2   What kind of information is stored on the bio-chips?


3   Who could benefit from these implants?


4   How are some European nightclubs using the bio-chips?


5   How expensive are the bio-chip implants?


6   How could the bio-chips be used to invade people’s privacy?


7   What is one company going to donate to trauma centers?




__ a

__ b

__ c

__ d


Answers may vary.

 They are the size of a grain of rice and are implanted with a syringe.

 They store a digital ID code.

 Alzheimer’s patients and others with medical conditions

 They are implanting customers so they don’t have to use ID cards or credit cards.

 Around $135 – $200

 They could be used to keep track of where people are and where they go.

 200 bio-chip scanners


A= Tom, B = Jackie

A:   Hey, Jackie, I think I just found an article we can use in our Communications class, for the discussion we need to lead tomorrow.

B:   That’s good news. So what’s it about?

A:   Well, let’s see, there’s a company that’s developed a microchip that can be implanted in humans. The chips are about the size of a grain of rice. It takes only about 20 minutes and a syringe to implant them. The chip holds a digital ID code that can be linked to a database such a database of medical records. So, let’s say you were in an accident and unconscious with no identification on you. In the ambulance, the paramedics would scan your body and the info on the chip would have an ID number and code to link to your medical records in a secure database. They could know your vital information such as blood type, allergies, etc., before you get to the hospital.

B:   This sounds like the chips already being implanted in pets. You know, those things vets can scan to help locate the owners of the lost dogs or cats.

A:   Oh, yeah. Right. This article points out that the chips could also help identify people who can’t communicate-Alzheimer’s patients, for example.

B:   Yeah, I can see the benefits. But what’s the downside? Is it safe? Has anyone tried it yet?

A:   Well, here it says that some of the employees at the company making these chips have had it implanted. And last year a doctor at a medical school also got “chipped” as they say. So far no one has noted any negative effects. There are questions though about whether the system could be hacked into and compromised.

B:   Alright, so this may sound a little paranoid, but do you think it could be used to track people-you know, follow their movement?

A:   Well, according to this magazine article, that’s one of the benefits and one of the concerns. It could be life-saving for military personnel, like a pilot, for instance. Imagine the pilot has to bail out of a plane in a remote area-maybe a dense forest. It’s possible the chip could help locate him or her. It could also be used in a high security area such as a nuclear power plant. You could monitor the movement of the employees for security purposes. Maybe it could even be used to help locate coal miners in the event of a cave-in or other kind of disaster.

On a lighter note, this says there’s a European nightclub that’s promoting it as a convenience for its guests. Their guests can get a bio-chip implanted so they no longer have to use an ID card or a credit card at the club.

B:   Is this thing expensive?

A:   Right now it costs about $200 for a medical chip, and that isn’t covered by insurance. The nightclub version costs about $135. I guess it will get cheaper as it becomes more widespread.

B:   Wow. I mean, this sounds big. I wonder why I haven’t heard anything about this before! I can see why it would be so useful, especially if it provides quick access to medical records. I guess it could also help cut down on identity theft and things like credit-card fraud. Then again, when, or if, hackers manage to get into the database, that could be a nightmare! You know, some of the security and privacy issues, they honestly make me a little nervous.

A:   OK, I see your point, but think about it. It could be really useful in places like nursing homes or other institutions. People could be free to move around and still be safely monitored. And if it’s implanted in babies it could prevent accidental switches at the hospital or even kidnappings.

B:   Yes, that’s true, but on the other hand, that’s exactly what’s scary about it-like I said before, it could be used to track people’s movements when they aren’t aware of it. This just sounds too much like “big brother” to me. I’m not sure if the benefits are worth the trade-offs. I think there need to be some safe-guards.

Also, regarding the medical records, I don’t mean to be negative, but there are still a lot of places that aren’t computerized. My own doctor still keeps everything in manila file folders! And even if he did use computers, what kind of guarantee is there that his software or systems would interface with one of the databases or systems that this is tied to?

A:   Yeah, I see what you’re saying. But it could be that within a few years, every doctor’s office and hospital in the country will be equipped to scan these bio-chips. In fact, it says here that this one company plans to donate free bio-chip scanners to 200 trauma centers around the country. Some hospitals are already adopting the new technology, and by next year the company expects to see the number more than tripled.

B:   Well, it sounds like this is just the thing to spark a lively discussion!

Let’s prepare a summary and generate some questions before class tomorrow.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This