Companies tend to embrace technology the same way your parents do -- slowly, and rarely to the benefit of the people who rely on them. But if you thought escaping your mom's discovery of the poop emoji was impossible, corporations have taken things to new extremes that are going to make work inexplicably even more miserable.
6 Eye Tracking Physically Forces You To Watch Training Videos
If there's one thing that will make a worker's skin crawl more than seeing the roaches in the break room fridge, it's employee training videos. These videos can cover everything from fire drill plans to sexual harassment, featuring out-of-work actors, painful dialogue, and outdated hairstyles all wrapped up in a soundtrack that was composed on a broken Turbografx-16.
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
"Thanks to those hotsy-totsy suffragettes, you may notice some new faces around your office's laudanum station."
Traditionally, the only way employees could survive was to reduce their metabolism until they reached a hibernation state. These days, many companies direct their serfs to a webpage that hosts all the videos and slideshows on it for you to review at their leisure. And by "review at their leisure," we mean they can start the video and then go take a dump and play that game Kate Upton's boobs are selling.
Some companies, however, wised up to how much we hate watching local actors make terrible puns about the office dress code, and are now putting their employees in the digital equivalent of a Clockwork Orange chair. A feature on many phones and tablets now is "eye tracking," which utilizes the device's camera to figure out where you're looking, and can do things like scroll web pages. Alternatively, if you're the type of boss who hates happiness, you can use it to pause training videos when employees look away from the screen.
"Excuse me. My soulless, ever-watching digital eye is up here."
A group of Stanford students got together and developed this "smart pause" feature, and have been marketing it to companies so that they could make sure that employees were actually watching their training videos and not fucking around on comedy websites instead. Mindflash, the company that markets this technology, claims that in addition to acting like a teacher who can "wait here all day," companies can use it to identify where the boring parts are and try to spruce them up so that watching training videos is less of a Sisyphean task.
Somehow, we get the feeling that if they haven't updated their video since 1992, they're not going to start now.
5 Security Badges That Can Tell When You're in a Bad Mood
Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
It's impressive what computers can predict with seemingly miscellaneous information, such as how your shopping list can be an unintentional pregnancy test. Businesses are now trying to get in on the fun by using various pieces of data to highlight productive employees and spot patterns that indicate things like employee theft.
Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images
"Every time Chad works a shift, all the Real Housewives box sets are stolen ... but what does it all mean?"
A company called Sociometric Solutions wants to take that even further and turn your ID badge into a Sims diamond. By equipping your badge with some microphones and enough sensors to make James Bond pee his pants, employers would be able to monitor things like who you're talking to, in what tone, and where you're spending your time in the office. They can even monitor your posture, on the off chance your boss went to etiquette school in 18th-century London.
When corporate higher-ups start analyzing that data, they can detect all sorts of patterns that might have been invisible otherwise, such as who is effective in personal interactions and who truly has their heart in their work. So if you're having a shitty day and haven't plastered a big enough grin on your face, the badge will pick it up and know you're pissed, like a monochrome mood ring that lets you into the break room.
Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Sorry, my grandma is in the hospital, I'm having a rough time with it."
"The computer says your body language means you have a scorching case of herpes."
And while we're talking about predicting behavior ...