Artificial Intelligence signals the arrival of Big Brother

The ability to harvest large quantities of date gives bosses the means to monitor in detail how staff are using their time and when they are wasting time. The ability to record stokes on a key board, when emails are received, read and responded to gives a minute by minute record of staff behaviour. It can also lead to the assumption that an individual who takes their hands of the key board for five minutes isn’t working. 

Checking up on staff to ensure they are working has always been seen as part of the managers role. Of course some managers work on a higher level of trust than others and some are more concerned with results than hours spent at the computer. There have always been managers who didn’t trust their staff and assumed that with out close monitoring they would skive off. As a senior manager I had a boss who required his PA to take info from the diaries of his senior manager and display on a large white board their appointments and meetings for the week broken down hour by hour. Gaps made it look like you weren’t busy so I had to book out time in my dairy for reading emails and report writing. Any gags were filled with TT my code for thinking time! 

I find it hard to accept  the clams of those selling this technology that it will result in better allocated work load and responsibilities and therefor less stress . I can see comparisons being made and conversations being had with those who the data indicated are less productive. Result more pressure more stress. I can’t see the technology making managers more trusting. But my old boss would love it. 

Blair Mcpherson former Director , author and blogger 

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