In a move that has some people shouting “Big Brother,” Microsoft has applied for a new patent for a system that can track a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence. The Microsoft patent details a “unique monitoring system” that includes wireless sensors that read heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure. If the system picked up an increase in heart rate or facial expressions suggestive of stress or frustration, it would tell management that the employee needed help. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.
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