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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the keeping-an-eye-on-things dept.

Businesses 664

Gr8Apes writes "Hitachi has created a 'perfect virtual boss.' The company is manufacturing and selling a device intended to increase efficiency in the workplace called the Hitachi Business Microscope (paywalled). 'The device looks like an employee ID badge that most companies issue. Workers are instructed to wear it in the office. Embedded inside each badge, according to Hitachi, are "infrared sensors, an accelerometer, a microphone sensor and a wireless communication device." Hitachi says that the badges record and transmit to management "who talks to whom, how often, where and how energetically." It tracks everything. If you get up to walk around the office a lot, the badge sends information to management about how often you do it, and where you go. If you stop to talk with people throughout the day, the badge transmits who you're talking to (by reading your co-workers' badges), and for how long. Do you contribute at meetings, or just sit there? Either way, the badge tells your bosses.'"

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In otherwards (5, Insightful)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 8 months ago | (#46141457)

It just takes micromanagement to an entirely new level. No thanks to these.

Re:In otherwards (5, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 8 months ago | (#46141577)

Get ready for your new Terrafoam domecile.

patent time! (2)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 months ago | (#46141637)

Hitachi has invented the RoboToady. now, the only reason to keep brownnoses around is to fill out the foursome at golf.

Re:In otherwards (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#46141703)

It just takes micromanagement to an entirely new level.

Considering the chip die sizes involved, it's probably better to call to call it nano-management.

Re:In otherwards (4, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 8 months ago | (#46141997)

Wait, wait, I know this one! [wikipedia.org] Ah, nothing like innovations in management to remind you that a dystopia is always possible. Anyone who hasn't read Manna, go do it! It is worth it.

It's too bad so much iconic dystopic science fiction was written or cinematized in the 80s (Nineteen Eighty-Four and Bladerunner, to name but two film examples), since it means that all you need to trick people into thinking it's impossible is a bright and cheery computer interface.

Re:In otherwards (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46142027)

It might be fine for Japanese culture... I don't know. But it sure as hell wouldn't fly here. As soon as I found out those were required I'd be out the door.

They should call it an anti-retention device (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 8 months ago | (#46141487)

Guaranteed to get rid of off your employees who have other options!

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (5, Interesting)

DoomHamster (1918204) | about 8 months ago | (#46141565)

This is why it is important for the plotucracy to engineer a global economy where capitol can freely traverse national borders but the workforce cannot.

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141607)

"Capitol"? That's rather large to move around, don't you think?

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (2)

DoomHamster (1918204) | about 8 months ago | (#46141765)

Grrr...I KNEW someone was going to catch that...why can't we edit our posts here?

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (4, Funny)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 8 months ago | (#46141873)

Beta!

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (4, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 8 months ago | (#46141935)

Grrr...I KNEW someone was going to catch that...why can't we edit our posts here?

The plotucracy doesn't want you to have that feature.

Sincerely,

Your coroprate overlords

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (1, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141623)

You mean, like, what we got now?

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (0)

DoomHamster (1918204) | about 8 months ago | (#46141655)

Precisely

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (1)

gregor-e (136142) | about 8 months ago | (#46141731)

On the plus side, salaries will be going up. (Because they'd have to pay people a whole lot more to put up with that).

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (4, Funny)

fatgraham (307614) | about 8 months ago | (#46141917)

But unfortunately, the budget has been spent on some new management tools.

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (2)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 8 months ago | (#46141919)

On the plus side, salaries will be going up. (Because they'd have to pay people a whole lot more to put up with that).

Not if all the companies in your field adopt it at the same time. Then you have nowhere to go to to escape it and they don't have to increase salaries.

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46141995)

You think there's genuine free competition in the job market?

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46141811)

Guaranteed to get rid of off your employees who have other options!

You are assuming that the employees would know about the sensors in their badges. Why would the managers tell them?

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46141887)

Guaranteed to get rid of off your employees who have other options!

You are assuming that the employees would know about the sensors in their badges. Why would the managers tell them?

Judging from the pictures, [hitachi.com] I'd think it would be pretty obvious this isn't your typical RFID badge.

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (3, Funny)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#46142025)

Why would you assume that managers are bright enough not to tell them? :)

Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141833)

Guaranteed to get rid of off your employees who have other options!

What an adorably gigantic condition you just casually tacked on to the end there! It must be nice having been born somewhere with a massive job market!

Virtual slave (5, Funny)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 8 months ago | (#46141495)

In related news, I am pleased to announce my new "virtual slave" hardware, which intercepts communication from the "Virtual Boss" device to PHBServer and provides an excellent replacement stream of communication indicating you always participate in meetings, visit precisely three fellow employees for ten minutes each day, and never go to the bathroom. ("Virtual Slave eXtreme" will be available soon, with many customization options.)

Re:Virtual slave (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141629)

I think that's the tech equivalent of "as long as they keep acting as if they're paying me, I keep acting as if I'm working here".

Re:Virtual slave (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#46141737)

"Virtual Slave eXtreme"

I don't know what it is, but I'm prepared to pay you $10,000 for it right now.

Re:Virtual slave (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 8 months ago | (#46141839)

For $20K, it will broadcast how your PHB's PHB's PHB spends his day.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141497)

What problem are they trying to solve?

I'd be looking for a new job.

If the work I'm doing and the things I'm accomplishing aren't enough, they should be looking for a new employee.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#46141719)

They are trying to solve the problem of wanting to fire individuals but needing cause, and an application like this is pretty much an automatic paper trail generator that can be mined to fit pretty much any firing.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 months ago | (#46141847)

I have to agree, this goes against everything that is said about good management. Most good MBA schools would disprove of this.
Why?
1. There is a calculated benefit towards (water cooler chats), this increases overall productivity, by allowing informal collaboration and knowledge exchange.
2. The issue between Introverted and Extroverted employees. An introverted employee in a meeting may seem very quite and engaged, however they are there listening and taking in the information, where they may come up with better solution later on. Extroverted may seem like they are engaged however they are just talking a lot of nonsense, and off topic, because they like talking.
3. Employee intensive is Work Environment + Pay. If they feel like their freedom is being taken away from them, it is equivalent to paying them less. If an employee feels like they are being paid fairly they will perform better then one who feels like they are not.
4. Synergy. How can you have Synergy if people are not working together, and knowing each others strengths and weaknesses?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141857)

What problem are they trying to solve?

Insufficient satisfaction from the current state of the general Japanese business fetish for micromanagement?

I think I have to say... (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 8 months ago | (#46141501)

...Fuck THAT!!

Or...Take this job and shove it.

Way too intrusive....treat people like adults, and only punish those that cannot act like an adult, but don't punish and track everyone else that is getting their job done.

Re:I think I have to say... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46141673)

treat people like adults.

Well, sure, they will, but those that work for a living aren't really people, are they?

Let me be the first to say... (3, Funny)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | about 8 months ago | (#46141507)

.... I quit. I for one, do not welcome our Orwellian overlords.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 8 months ago | (#46141895)

This is a popular reaction, and yet I suspect the majority of complainers willing carry a similar cell phone/tracking collar around all day.

Misunderstood? (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46141509)

Japanese companies have tried stuff like this before, but not so that bosses can harass their employees. They genuinely want to know how to make the business better by finding out how people actually work... You know, like a good boss should.

Obviously the potential for abuse is massive, but I think the article author is projecting their own thinking on to this idea. Aside from anything else abusing it would probably be illegal under Japanese law, as it would be in most European countries.

Re:Misunderstood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141659)

Japanese companies have tried stuff like this before, but not so that bosses can harass their employees. They genuinely want to know how to make the business better by finding out how people actually work... You know, like a good boss should.

The best way for a boss to learn how to improve the business is for the boss to get out of their office and walk among the employees (and customers...if that's appropriate for the business). I have seen too many managers over my many years of working spend way too much time in their offices doing "whatever", or constantly on the phone, or constantly buried in email or paperwork. Sometimes they work for a sensless boss themselves.

If you want to find out what your employees are doing, how the work environment is, or how to improve the business, try talking to the employees on a regular basis...and by regular I don't mean during the annual employee review. get out once a week or even once a day and circulate among the employees. For those with "remote employees" the problem is made difficult by distance, but the once a week staff meeting or once a week person-to-person call along with a personal visit by them or you or both every few months would make sense.

Re:Misunderstood? (1)

gothzilla (676407) | about 8 months ago | (#46141763)

Like what happens in the show Undercover Boss?

Re:Misunderstood? (1)

Rossman (593924) | about 8 months ago | (#46141855)

It's not that simple and I expect you know that. A lot of people view "the bosses" as, on a different level, and they are uncomfortable sharing their real feelings for many reasons including fear of the consequences of doing so. That is why there are shows like Undercover Boss, actually.

In other cases, workers may not even know what makes them more productive - so it would be hard to actually get this information from them by simply asking them. It is easy for workers to say what makes them feel better, but not what makes them more productive necessarily.

Re:Misunderstood? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141663)

If I had any reason to believe that the device was for improvement of workflow and elimination of redundancy, I'd gladly wear it. The problem is that the way employees are treated today, there is exactly zero reason to believe that was the idea behind it.

Re:Misunderstood? (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46141937)

Japanese companies are very different to western ones. They consider employees to be assets, and really do consider themselves a family. They are often undervalued because western investors consider high wages to be a weakness and a burden. Japan has the highest number of 80+ year old companies anywhere though, so clearly it works for them.

Of course not all are that good, TEPCO for example, but Hitachi has a good reputation.

Re:Misunderstood? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 8 months ago | (#46141669)

This is the NSA's wet dream come true. There is no "potential" for abuse, it's a given. The only question is who all will abuse it?

Re:Misunderstood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141825)

It's abusing by the mere presence, even if it were a dummy employees will take it into account.
Now, if employees can cheat and work less, it's management problem. There are either too few or too incompetent managers.
This ideally, in a world where a firm is there to make the best possible business.
In this world, where work is a way to keep people busy, management is just an interface to the financial system, and all ISO certifications and practiced are aimed at making employees easily replaced drones working for whoever offers more, this is exclusively an instrument for abuse. Saw that coming? LOL read up the short dystopic novel, "mensa" was the name IIRC.

Re:Misunderstood? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 months ago | (#46141681)

>> They genuinely want to know how to make the business better by finding out how people actually work..

Then they should start by learning to respect people and actually ask them instead.

Re:Misunderstood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141693)

There are costs [wikipedia.org] to such a stressful life too.

Re:Misunderstood? (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46141701)

I don't know what world you live in where Japan has a healthy work culture. [carolinepover.info] Abuse of psychology for net harm of workers is considered normal.

Re:Misunderstood? (2)

Gramie2 (411713) | about 8 months ago | (#46141791)

Agreed I was working for Japanese companies (in Japan) for seven years, and it was soul-destroying.

Re:Mean While, In the US... (2)

captjc (453680) | about 8 months ago | (#46141757)

It will be hailed as the greatest invention since the Blackberry. All those useless drones who aren't working every second of their 40 hours and take more than their "fair" share of the free coffee will finally pay! I can even be used to make sure people get truly "fair" pay, "You were here for 50 hours this week but you only really 'worked' for 39 of them...no overtime for you!"

I can see this not only becoming standard in most workplaces and probably even made mandatory in a few states (with appropriate exceptions for executive level management).

Re: Misunderstood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141851)

You know the intentions of all Japanese companies, but the author is projecting? +5 Insightful?

Re:Misunderstood? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 months ago | (#46141879)

There are too many people who think being a good boss, is about being tough, and managing people like a machine. En essence the Traditional pre-2000 MBA, where it was designed for managing manufacturing jobs, not intellectual collaborative jobs.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141517)

Fuck that noise....

Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141519)

And the company that uses this is gonna wonder why all their employees suck. Nobody worth anything would put up with this.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141683)

And the company that uses this is gonna wonder why all their employees suck. Nobody worth anything would put up with this.

Are you sure about this? I would say it would be the ones worth nothing that would not put up with this, because it would create demonstrable evidence that they are worth nothing.

Many workplaces have employees that contribute nearly nothing to the organization, but are given most of the credit, and similarly have employees that contribute much to the organization and are given little credit.

This is simply a tool to take personality or any other personal biases out of the equation when it comes to helping judge the worth of an employee, it removes the human element and replaces it with measurable data.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46141869)

It appears to generate completely meaningless metrics that have no real value in evaluating employees or their contributions.

On the other hand, it's the sort of soul crushing nonsense that you would hope that none of your professional (or even just legal) workers would tolerate. It seems more like something for your illegal sub-minimum wage part time menial laborers.

Is removing the badge from your shirt a crime? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 8 months ago | (#46141523)

I mean really, most people would take the badge off before sitting down at their desk.

Re:Is removing the badge from your shirt a crime? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 8 months ago | (#46141581)

Not a crime, but probably an act that would still get you fired if you did it more than once after being told not to.

Re:Is removing the badge from your shirt a crime? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46141713)

1. Put your badge back on
2. Update resume.

Re:Is removing the badge from your shirt a crime? (5, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#46141803)

I can see the reports now:

Employee report #27135: "Employee arrived in the office, turned on their computer, and then crammed himself into a small drawer in his desk for the duration of the work day. He didn't move during this time except to climb out for meetings. Employee emerged from his desk at the end of the day."

Employee report #27136: "After speaking with four other employees in an energetic fashion regarding the new tracking systems, these employees went to the restroom and proceeded to flush themselves down the toilet. It might be worth noting that, following this, unknown individuals sent e-mails from these employees computers insulting their managers, most of HR, and the company executives. These unknown individuals then noted that the flushed employees had quit. As the unknown individuals didn't seem to be wearing tracking badges, it is not known what happened to them next. They either left or are living in the ventilation ducts."

Inevitable outcome (5, Funny)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46141533)

"Employees appeared to slowly converge on the toilets throughout the morning, where they remained for a few minutes before departing the building and eventually arriving to the nearest large body of water, where they remained for the rest of the day."

Re: Inevitable outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141911)

Employees skipped across the water before sinking and jumped tall buildings in a single bound.

Re:Inevitable outcome (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 8 months ago | (#46142035)

It's sad that first I assumed all the employees jumped in a lake and drowned themselves before realizing you meant they threw their badges in it.

Good luck with getting people to wear those (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 8 months ago | (#46141537)

I'd just leave in at my desk in a drawer most likely. If I actually worked for a company that tried to implement that, you can guarantee my resume would be going at either at EOD or lunchtime. If your company is suffering because of lack of productivity, the problem might lie with the workers. It probably lies with their boss. Either way, micromanaging 98% of workers* is counterproductive. Much more effective to hire competent, motivated people in the first place and/or replace the people managing them.

* I can see this being useful in a low-skill job with extremely high turnover, but that's about it

Re:Good luck with getting people to wear those (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141635)

someone wrote a book on this

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

Re:Good luck with getting people to wear those (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141699)

Not even in low paying, high turnover jobs. Why would anyone give half a fuck about being fired from one of those?

Re:Good luck with getting people to wear those (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 8 months ago | (#46141797)

Because you need to pay rent and buy food?

Re:Good luck with getting people to wear those (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141837)

Go across the street, there's another Starbucks hiring.

Re:Good luck with getting people to wear those (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#46141821)

Are there sensors that can measure height? If so, you can really mess with them by hanging the badge from the ceiling. "Employee seems to enjoy clinging to the ceiling for the entire workday."

Is it morally wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141541)

... to kill the bastard who though this was a good idea?

Too much data to be useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141555)

I can't see these being useful. You get a lot of data from a lot of employees and eventually it's just going to be too much data to be effectively useful, hampering creativity and the ability to solve problems. Then there's the other problem, let's say this works perfectly and only perfect employees are kept, who pays for the employees who can no longer get jobs because they aren't willing to be automatons?

Re:Too much data to be useful (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 8 months ago | (#46141697)

I can't see these being useful. You get a lot of data from a lot of employees and eventually it's just going to be too much data to be effectively useful, hampering creativity and the ability to solve problems. Then there's the other problem, let's say this works perfectly and only perfect employees are kept, who pays for the employees who can no longer get jobs because they aren't willing to be automatons?

"Perfect Employees" Of course this this definition of perfect is a bit swayed towards people that show up, sit at their desks, do not converse with their coworkers, and spend the minimum amount of time in the restroom or on lunch break.

No mention of if the people are actually getting any work accomplished. Talk about inappropriate selection pressure. At best it finds people that are good at subverting the process.

Re:Too much data to be useful (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141735)

It's just a very good tool to get rid of people you can't get rid of easily any other way. I don't know about your country, but here, if you have been with a company for a long while, it gets increasingly difficult (or expensive) to get rid of you. Being able to "prove" that you're slacking makes it so much easier.

You needn't put everyone under surveillance. You just have to make everyone think that they are.

This wont end well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141569)

If my use of the wii has taught me anything, its how to game systems with the littlest possible physical work. I will need to start energetically shouting during meetings. Or make a phone app that will shout into the badge for me while its in my pocket.

Microwave it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141591)

I imagine 5 seconds in the office microwave oven should fix it

As predicted by Marshall Brain? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141611)

Fiction becomes reality:

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

Badge Meets Clippy? (3, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | about 8 months ago | (#46141643)

"It looks like you're trying to Fire A Subordinate. Would you like me to call Security?"

Manna (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 8 months ago | (#46141675)

It seems like more people should take a read of Marshall Brain's Manna [wikipedia.org] , a book about this very thing. (Online version [marshallbrain.com] ).

It goes into what could happen (and given current economics, the rest of us are housed in tiny apartments to keep the away from the owners). And yet, it also details an alternative view where automation is NOT shunned, but instead used to fulfill what people originally dreamed them to do - do all the chores while the humans relax, or speculate, or invent, or do other things.

Quite an informative read if you have a couple of hours.

Re:Manna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141859)

yup. first thing i thought of too.
i only read the story a few months ago.
freaky how fast reality catches up.
-dywolf

Re:Manna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141863)

Quite an informative read if you have a couple of hours.

It may be interesting (I haven't read it), but fictional stories cannot be INFORMATIVE. It may be wrong, or it may be right, but it is proof of nothing. The author can make the story go where ever they want.

doesn't take into account human nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141899)

That makes the silly assumption that capital wouldn't just keep 100% of gains due to automation [epi.org] while leaving labor to starve in the street, and berating them for being lazy and cluttering up the gutters.

Re:doesn't take into account human nature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141985)

That's exactly what happens in the first half of the story, actually. The money concentrates at the top, consolidating in the hands of the few, while everybody else is shoved into tiny publicly-funded housing in abject poverty. Mind you, I find the second half too farfetched to be remotely believable, but the first half aligns with your points exactly.

Re:Manna (3, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 8 months ago | (#46142007)

I read Manna a few years back, and I think about it often as I ponder our increasingly automated world. Google's self-driving vehicles are going to destroy so many jobs. At first, sure, they'll be required to have a person sit in them in case anything goes wrong, but once the technology proves itself, they'll get rid of that requirement. And don't think they won't...those with the gold will get rid of that rule because it cuts into their profits.

Eventually, no more truck drivers. No more UPS guys. No more mail carriers. No more taxi cab drivers. No more pizza delivery boys.

I don't know how many millions of jobs that would wipe out, but what will those people do?

And the thing is, it could go either way, just like Manna. But in the US, we know exactly which way it would go. And that's scary, because when people get hungry because they have no jobs, they don't stay hungry. They tend to get out the pitchforks and torches.

my company doesn't need this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141679)

We don't need this because we trust our employees to be adults who get their work done. That's why we give them the breathing room they need and only burden them with daily standups and mandatory pair programming in our open bull-pen office. With this type of dynamic, collaborative work environment we are able to attract top talent.

Microwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141685)

That thing is going in the microwave as soon as the boss is out of sight.

"I don't know what happened, I was just sitting here eating my lunch.."

Translation error (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#46141689)

I think Hitachi goofed up their translation. "Perfect" is not the correct word.

Obstruct/Corrupt the data (1)

Maddog Medic (3524497) | about 8 months ago | (#46141721)

Step 1: Bring your friendly dog to work. Step 2: Distribute treats to all coworkers Step 3: Attach badge to dog collar. Step 4: Enjoy bosses' consternation! ... Step 5: (probable) .... clean out desk & look for other job.

Hilarious (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 8 months ago | (#46141753)

Never have I been happier to be an independent contractor working at home. I know there are "solutions" to people like me already (like the oDesk spyware crap), but thusfar, I've been able to avoid them.

This should be fun... (2)

shemyazaz (1494359) | about 8 months ago | (#46141755)

I work for one of the American Hitachi divisions. God help me if they decide to force them on us.

Cue people starting to "work" at working (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46141775)

No, I don't mean "doing their job". I mean they will start to game the system. People who want to slack off have been very inventive and creative when it comes to slacking, so this will be no different. They will come up with ways to tweak that. Don't want to go to a boring meeting? Let a coworker take your badge along. He'll do it for you next time and everyone's happy.

Of course this does not increase productivity, but rather decrease it for the necessary overhead involved to game the system. But hey, I didn't come up with the idea, management gets what management wants, and if they want me to spend time fucking with their spying system rather than work so my "characteristic figures" look the way they should, I give them what they want.

For reference, see the success of the "how many keystrokes did the programmer make today" for measuring the productivity of programmers creating code. It's not that much different from this junk.

Needs more automation (3, Funny)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 8 months ago | (#46141789)

It needs a speaker, too.

"Attention worker #47293, you have exceeded your pooping allotment for the day. Exit the stall and proceed back to your desk. Thank you for your compliance."

At least there is no cameras (4, Interesting)

Subgenius (95662) | about 8 months ago | (#46141799)

True story: My CEO (US company, California) tasked me to install 3 motion-detection CCTV cameras at all of our remote staff locations (3 part timers, in their homes, in eastern Europe), and then review the footage daily to determine if they 'were at their posts' during working hours (and did not take 'too many' breaks during the day). Of course, the reason for this was to 'make sure we are getting what we paid for.' I'm glad this device was not around last year (or will be very expensive THIS year).

No, I did not install the cameras, I just let the issue die. (still have a job, too).

Kill CIA (0)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 8 months ago | (#46141805)

First order of business is kill the CIA with a creeping death angel of God. Then, profit. God says... school condition described agree appear derision gold mind- malice monasteries judgments worshipping conceiving certainly school-fellows truth calledst disease commiserates issue tasteth male mouthed contradicting nourishments debated slew lighten Jupiter passible -for seductions effaced womb extension corresponded blameless even knowledge Simple shuns knocking move peradventure imbibed 000 going rescue battle heavier neglecting earliest observe piled capital choose naturally manufactures shameless merciful hushed chewing Pusey people greaves tamedst save slower fool gods transgressing slavery stirrest unchangeable Seek privately facio Luxury pure inviting refusing lack fatigues note-book frozen Because breasts posted Latins praiseth detesting faults forgottest incorporeal submit Presently appropriated recently Idaho tastes singly husks corruption Revenue harmonise ETEXTS numbering fall animal apprehending sustenance son intelligence World discharge Hereupon subverted strait sinners dwellers -Spiritual Permit funeral tormented principles Eternal transition unclean resolutely sudden deluded awfulness childbearing lancet collected 'knock incorruptible Mail singularly book smarting Self consciousness seventh demanded Bridegroom sinks gladdens unpleasantly peace-makers attentive discuss delay excellencies fury beaten calculate answerest Victim discuss placedst check

Read this! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46141809)

I assume the sensitive accelerometer analyzer can tell the difference between subtle movements while talking (hey, you could probably read body like mouth reading! Haha nobody can patent that now!) and jerking off.

Awesome (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 8 months ago | (#46141867)

Wow. As a software/hardware product.. that is freaking cool.... No, I wouldn't want to wear one.. But the analytic side of it is fascinating. You could also tie it in with facial recognition, so that if the employee removes the badge, that would be known and reported too. Your slacking off days are numbered!!

I Want Out (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 8 months ago | (#46141929)

How screwed up has our society become when it makes cheesy 80's hair metal [youtube.com] seem substantive and poignant?

Social butterflies (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#46141949)

How is it supposed to determine that the people who spend half their day socializing aren't doing any productive work?

Com Badge (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46141967)

I guess the Governor of New Jersey could use these things - he has absolutely no idea what goes on in his office.

Announcing the Hitachi BM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46141987)

Because the workplace wasn't shitty enough already.

Solution (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 8 months ago | (#46142001)

Putting this in a Faraday cage is sure to generate a report "Employee is well shielded from management and employees. Recommend promotion to CEO."

Coming to a government agency near you (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about 8 months ago | (#46142005)

I am sure some DHS/TSA/NSA/Dirty Cop would love to see these fitted in every vehicle, back pack, and on you.

You got it all wrong, this is GOOOOOD. (2)

aix tom (902140) | about 8 months ago | (#46142017)

After all, it's the first step of automating management, and replacing all that management types with a bunch of shell scripts.

And who gets to write those shell-scripts in the end? Who? Exactly, we, the techies.

So it may be a slight inconvenience for a time, but in the end we will only have to do what the shell scripts we wrote ourselves are telling us to do. Sounds pretty much like paradise to me.

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