Invade the Brains of your Employees
Be First On The Block To Monitor Their Thoughts Electronically
By Mark Swartz
Canadian Workplace Specialist
What’s current in keeping track of your employees during those ever so precious work hours? Try on brain-monitoring headgear for size. Really. And not just those primitive devices truckers wear to blast them awake with Dolly Parton tunes if their head starts nodding into snores-ville. We’re talking full blown “I Robot,” high gauge equipment that employees might someday sport around their noggin to track their brain waves for warnings of potential mistakes on the job.
Bet you can’t wait to place your order!
To do so, you’ll have to wait till 2020 or so and get in touch with Dr. Stefan Debener, a brain researcher at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research in Southampton, England. That’s where this bleeding edge experimentation is taking place.
But Will It Clash With My Ensemble?
Sure it’s a great concept. Who wouldn’t want to wire their workers with whatcha-ma-callits and find out their every contemplation? Maybe the technology can be fine-tuned to hone in on thoughts that violate company policy. Better yet: tweak it to find those rare bursts of genius your staff members are clearly too dense to recognize as “eureka” moments, then stealthily download these insights on your firm’s hard drive for later use. An endless well of free, patentable ideas at your disposal.
But you might be asking, “Makes infinite sense, but how can we, as responsible, law abiding employers respectful of our most prized assets – that being our employees – force these good folk to wear gear that penetrates their skulls and watches them like Big Brother?
Same way you get them to let you monitor their keystrokes on their computers, capture their e-mails, listen in on phone calls, and place them under video surveillance: by not telling them.
Look, at some point the electronics will be miniaturized, just as portable computer memory and your take home pay have been shrinking for years. Then you can secretly place the device on your employee’s head as you pat them good morning each day.
Are Employees Really Stupid Enough To Let Us Do This?
Darn tootin’ they are. A tip of the hat to CityWatcher.com, a former Cincinnati-based video surveillance firm, that dealt with possible employee theft by implanting RFID (Radio Frequency ID) chips in the arms of two "willing" workers authorized to enter a secure room holding government surveillance videos.
In an MSNBC interview, Sean Darks, chief executive of the company, said “To protect high-end secure data, you use more sophisticated techniques.” He compared chip implants to retina scans or fingerprinting. “There’s a reader outside the door; you walk up to the reader, put your arm under it, and it opens the door.”
But Where Will This All End?
Retina scans, fingerprinting, injecting radio transceivers into an employee’s arm…it’s all good fun for now. However mightn’t this start to get out of control at some point? The temptations are compelling. Like why stop at scrutinizing an employee during work hours when if you can also do so at home?
Bugging their living rooms. Listening devices in their cars. High definition video cameras implanted behind the corneas of their eyeballs. You don’t want to miss a trick. After all, at any moment your overpaid, underworked, ungrateful underling might have an independent idea. Worse, they may be smarter than you are and think up cunning ways to put you out of business.
Now that’s something to keep an eye out for.