Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yeah, this is a good idea....

So I saw an interesting story on Drudge this morning:

Microsoft seeks patent for office 'spy' software

The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.

...

Microsoft submitted a patent application in the US for a “unique monitoring system” that could link workers to their computers. Wireless sensors could read “heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure”, the application states.

The system could also “automatically detect frustration or stress in the user” and “offer and provide assistance accordingly”. Physical changes to an employee would be matched to an individual psychological profile based on a worker’s weight, age and health. If the system picked up an increase in heart rate or facial expressions suggestive of stress or frustration, it would tell management that he needed help.

So I sent my wife an email containing a link to the story. Her response was classic:
I can see it now:

(User logs onto computer in the morning.

(Soft Feminine Automated Voice)

Good morning…John…Smith. You have ...45... e-mail messages waiting for you. ...10... e-mail messages are marked urgent. You have a ...conference call... in ...30... minutes. You have a ...meeting... in ...15... minutes. You must meet ...3... deadlines in ...10... minutes.

I sense your blood pressure is rising. Please stop all activity. Take 10 deep breaths before resuming productivity. Do not leave your work station.

...15... new e-mails have been received in you Inbox. You have ...60... e-mail messages waiting for you. ...20... e-mail messages are marked urgent. You have a ...conference call... in ...25... minutes. You have a ...meeting... in ...10... minutes. You must meet ...3... deadlines in ...5... minutes.

Your blood pressure is high. Please stop all activity. Take 10 Deep breaths before resuming productivity. Do not leave your work station. Please contact the on-site healthcare technician to arrange a check up on your lunch break.

(User gets up in disgust to get coffee)

(LOUD ANGRY MALE AUTOMATED VOICE) or (SCREECHY FEMALE AUTOMATED VOICE)

WARNING. WARNING. ...JOHN... SMITH... HAS LEFT HIS WORK STATION. PRODUCTIVITY HAS STOPPED.

(User returns to stop alarm)

(Soft Feminine Automated Voice)

I sense your blood pressure is rising. Please stop all activity. Take 10 deep breaths before resuming productivity. Do not leave your work station. Please contact the on-site healthcare technician to arrange a check up on your lunch break.


Yeah this is going to help.

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