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RISE OF THE MACHINES

By David White - 21st December 2017  |  Government , Individuals , Workforces for the Future

Are we taking technology a step too far?

The rise and rise of technology and its impacts on everyday life can be seen practically everywhere.

Everything, from how we entertain ourselves to how we work, has experienced drastic change over the years. Some of us hate it, whilst others embrace it.

The impact of technology on the way we do business has been unfathomable. It has made us more mobile, interconnected and efficient, whilst enabling us to create things we could never have dreamt of. But at what cost has this come?

Human microchipping?!

A new topic in business technology is the microchipping of employees. It may seem like a futuristic concept but there are reports that companies in the U.S. have started trialing microchipping their staff. These microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are usually inserted into the hand. At this point, only limited information can be stored on microchips but enough to grant access to buildings, rooms, photocopiers etc. This essentially replaces anything that requires a security pass or a code with a just a wave of the hand.

As microchips advance, they will be able to perform more complex tasks such as GPS tracking, purchasing goods and services via facilities like ApplePay, storing personal, identification and medical information and much more. Beyond that, microchips can control vehicles, home security and electronic devices such as your home appliances. This will make daily life more seamless as there will be no need to carry around keys and access cards. Say goodbye to losing your keys!

So, does this sound like a no-brainer or a big brother nightmare? Let’s put things into perspective and consider the flipside to convenience.

The ethics: does it make life easier or creepier?

There are ethical dilemmas that should be considered. You might think of a microchip being injected under your skin as highly intrusive, especially if it’s done on behalf of your employer.

Could an employer potentially track your hours, toilet breaks and whereabouts, whenever they please? Even if you have nothing to hide, do you really want your boss having access to this information? Is this an enormous breach of privacy?

Trust in the workplace is extremely valuable. It’s something that can be difficult to earn and yet incredibly easy to lose. From an employer’s perspective, it can be very challenging to balance. Some employees may warrant more trust than others but how employees are treated needs to be perceived as ‘equal’.

Workplace surveillance technology

For example, social media use is becoming an increasing issue in the workplace and can be seen as a distraction that has negative effects on productivity. In order to combat this, some workplaces have taken measures by blocking social media sites such as Facebook or as an alternative, granting access to these sites with the proviso that all use can be monitored. By implementing such measures, it will inevitably result in less social media use by staff in the workplace and therefore in theory, this should boost productivity. But what message are these employers sending to their workforce?

The levels of technology used in the workplace can largely depend on the type of culture an organisation is trying to instill. Innovative workplaces cultures are on the up; they have their finger on the pulse and are constantly looking to embrace technological innovations. Their aim is to utilise technology to make the workplace more efficient and productive, whereas more traditional workplace cultures continue using current technology until it becomes a necessity to update it.

The rapid improvement in technology has demonstrated that its potential is limitless. Although it’s exciting, the technology rollercoaster can be a little scary.

Where do you sit with the introduction of new technology at work? Do you wish your employer was an early adaptor or are you happy to wait? When does privacy outweigh new technology?

by Matthew Appassamy,
INS Career Coach

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