Monday, February 03, 2014

Corporate boss can look over your shoulder with a "wearable gadget."

This is from
(CNN) -- If you're a person who hates it when your supervisor looks over your shoulder at work, you may want to stop reading this column right now.
Because what follows is only going to depress you.
Hitachi, the big electronics company based in Japan, is manufacturing and selling to corporations a device intended to increase efficiency in the workplace. It has a rather bland and generic-sounding name: the Hitachi Business Microscope.
But what it is capable of doing ... well, just imagine being followed around the office or the factory all day by the snoopiest boss in the world. Even into the restroom.
And, the thing is, once you hear about it, you just know that, from a management point of view, it is an innovation of absolute genius.
 Apparently, Hitachi has constructed the perfect employee monitoring system to watch and record everything you do, everything you say, every time you take a crap on the toilet, every time to take a drink at the water cooler--your every moment that you are at work!  The device will look like an ID badge, but will contain "infrared sensors, an accelerometer, a microphone sensor and a wireless communication device."  According to
If you get up to walk around the office a lot, the badge sends information to management about how often you do it, and where you go.
If you stop to talk with people throughout the day, the badge transmits who you're talking to (by reading your co-workers' badges), and for how long.
Do you contribute at meetings, or just sit there? Either way, the badge tells your bosses.
The stated intention of this is to increase productivity and get the most out of employees
Management's argument for such a device is supervisors need to keep an eye on how workers are spending their time on the company hours, with employers paying for their workers time.  If the employees do not like wearing the Business Microscope, then they can find another job.   The Business Microscope is an employer's dream 'of maximum efficiency, and Hitachi says that, since the Business Microscope was first developed in its labs in 2007, "over one million days of human behavior and big data" have been collected."'

Corporate slavery has arrived.

When I read this article, I seriously wonder just how much hypocrisy and degradation that corporations have towards their employees.  It is bad enough to look at career pages on a corporate website, and read about how much corporations value their employees, and want to make employees feel like they are working in an exciting career, with great wages, and everyone will be treated like family.  While in reality, employee wages have remained stagnant, while the corporate CEOs pay has skyrocketed.  Corporations want to pay as little as they can on wages, expect complete loyalty from you, and treat you not as an "asset," but as a "cost" and "liability," from which they can fire you at any time and for no reason. 

What is especially amazing is that Hitachi had the crazy idea to design this employee monitoring device to eventually market and sell to such corporations.  And Hitachi is probably right.  There may be a huge market for more corporate-intrusive monitoring on employees.  The problem will be whether employees will abide towards company instructions of wearing such monitoring devices.  When companies treat their employees like crap, you can be employee morale and employee loyalty towards the company will plummet.  If employees can quit and move on towards another company which doesn't use such devices, they will.  If employees can not move on towards better jobs, they may be forced to wear such devices at the company workplace.  But such employees will certainly be resentful, and simply put in their time towards the company store--but they will not put in the extra effort, or desire to improve the company products or services.

Then again, I seriously doubt that corporations would give a damn.

UPDATE:  I'm curious.  If corporations start forcing their employees to wear these Hitachi Business Microscope, will the CEOs and top corporate leaders also be required to wear these devices?  And who will be listening to the CEO's Business Microscope?

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