Microsoft has applied for a patent on technology that will enable computers to monitor user behavior "to facilitate managing and optimising the utilisation of various system resources". How scary is this and what kind of seeds are we planting for our employment futures?


Lets look at it objectively. Using infra-red sensors to measure the breathing patterns, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, etc of an employee can provide valuable information to an employer who is unaware that they are putting too much pressure on their staff or alert others on a project team that someone is struggling with their requirement, or even provide warnings of possible health issues arising due to stress or illness.


On the darker side of this coin, its just a little bit too much like so many corny science fiction movies where people are forced into previously established and possibly antiquated compliance policies and identified and dealt with before they are able to provide "Better" options which might upset the sensibilities of the executive body.


In any case, besides being a host of legal issues to hurtle upon implementation of such a system, I don't see many employees readily jumping into the "Pick Me" line to be monitored and tracked in such a way anytime soon. That being said, there will also be those places to work that have such a high reputation as "The Coolest Place To Work" where people won't think twice about jumping on board with the monitoring just to be able to work there.


Doug Gebhardt

aka The Doug