Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Microsoft, innovating

"It looks like you're having a breakdown. Would you like help?"
[Microsoft Office pop-up message of the future]

"All your brain signals are belong to us!"
[Microsoft advertising slogan of the future]
Apple comes out with the MacBook Air, and look at what Microsoft's working on: a Clippy-like version of Big Brother. The Times of London reports:
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.

Technology allowing constant monitoring of workers was previously limited to pilots, firefighters and Nasa astronauts. This is believed to be the first time a company has proposed developing such software for mainstream workplaces.

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, 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.
Microsoft seeks patent for office 'spy' software (Times of London)
All your base are belong to us (Wikipedia)

comments: 0