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?

Courtesy www.technovelgy.com

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.

Courtesy www.drugs.com

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.

Courtesy www.Franzone.com

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.

Thoughts?

Doug Gebhardt

aka The Doug

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4 Responses to “Microsoft User Monitoring System – Workplace Assistant or Terminator?”

  1. Lisa says:

    Doug,

    How scary is this. Of course I very much doubt that employers will use this technology for good as opposed to evil! How invasive…I'm not getting in line to have my privacy invaded.

  2. jim says:

    This just wont happen.

    People working at great companies wont be asked to do it – because they're run by people who know how to manage people.

    People who work at rubbish companies will be asked to do it "as an experiment" but will refuse because it's just one more management fad to breathe down their neck and stop them doing their own thing!

  3. gregor-kaseo says:

    Thats so ridiculouse! Its really invasive, its a main problem with modern technique, you are faced with it on public places by cameras aso… i hope they will realize that this is all just very offensive and against human rights of privacy!

  4. The Doug says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. While I can see both the positive and the negative in such a thing, it is my personal gut feeling that it's got "Waiting to abuse my power" writen all over it for anyone who would implement it. I'd be curious to find out if Microsoft would be implementing it in-house and how it would be received.