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Chinese workers are the most monitored in the world. Even their emotions are controlled in real time

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This 1er May, it's Labor Day! On this occasion, we make the bridge, we take a rest or we parade. You grumble a little or a lot against your employer, but compared to what happens in China, you can consider yourself very happy. At least once in your life you have probably experienced this unpleasant situation: your boss looking over your shoulder at what you are doing. This situation is the daily lot of Chinese workers. But instead of a boss who is a little too curious, they have a helmet equipped with sensors that transmit their emotional state in real time. When you're not too hungry, it's productivity that suffers. This is not Confucius, but the new rule of management in the Middle Kingdom.
 
C's a report published by the daily newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP), which states that an "emotional monitoring" system is being implemented in several Chinese companies to allow employers to examine employees' brain waves for signs of distress. The technology is the result of a government-supported project.
 

Brain wave sensors

How does this new kind of surveillance system work? Lightweight sensors built into workers' headgear or helmets wirelessly transmit brain wave data from the wearer to a computer - it probably works a bit like an electroencephalogram (EEG), as the MIT Tech Review. Then, artificial intelligence algorithms scan the data for outliers that could indicate anxiety or anger.
 
Some organizations use the sensors during routine work, while others integrate them into virtual reality headsets to monitor workers' emotions during training exercises.
 
We don't know exactly how many workers have been subjected to this surveillance system, but the SCMP article states that the technology is being deployed "on an unprecedented scale" in China.
At least a dozen Chinese factories and enterprises use the emotional surveillance system to monitor workers. The Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric manufacturing company uses it to monitor workers on the production line, as does EDF's equivalent, State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power. It is also used by the country's military, public transport companies and various state-owned enterprises.
 

It's good for morale, it's good for business.

The idea is that the system gives companies the opportunity to boost worker morale before emotional distress can cause a problem, not after. "When the system issues a warning, the manager asks the worker to take a day off or move to a less critical position," Jin Jia, an associate professor at Ningbo University, where one of the project's main research centres is located, told the SCMP. "Some jobs require a high degree of concentration. There is no room for error. »
 
Several companies have told the CSMP that thanks to this emotional monitoring system their productivity and therefore their turnover has increased considerably. This performance will certainly give ideas to other companies around the world. Because employee monitoring is not just the preserve of the Chinese. In the United States, it is estimated that 80 % large companies monitor their employees' e-mail and phone conversations. But what's happening in China is a further degree of personal intrusion. Monitoring your brainwaves continuously and in real time to make sure you're working well is far more intrusive than a small boss tracking down your distractions during work hours.
 
The Chinese have, more or less willingly, agreed to be the most watched people in the world. Ubiquitous facial recognition systems undermine whole sections of people's private lives every day, their social life is monitored and their social life is given a personal note that affects their search for work or the right to go on holiday abroad.  

READ UP : China's ultra-high-tech police surveillance arsenal

Some kind of force of habit seems to be setting in. The Chinese daily SCMP notes that at first, emotional monitoring systems were feared because the Chinese felt that this would make them feel like they could read their thoughts. But after a while, the workers who were equipped with the brain wave pickup device say they finally got used to it. You get used to everything...
 
Sources: South China Morning Post, Futurism

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