In October 2007 I put in my archive a note that Microsoft patented brain impulses recognition technology, intended to test computer interfaces, systems of vehicle control, industrial manipulators. In February 2008, it was reported that a new patent had appeared – a system of monitoring the performance and health of employees. What was once considered a valid and necessary in relation to the astronauts and pilots, was offered to extend in the near future to ordinary managers.
According to the publication in the “Izvestia”, the system proposed by Microsoft, is based on wireless sensors of heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, movements, facial expression, and the same brain impulses. The proposal has already provoked criticism of trade unions, human rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, as well as comparisons with the anti-Utopia by George Orwell’s “1984”. But I do not suggest you to join the exciting ideological disputes. I think the more interesting problem is to look for other socio-friendly “entry point” of the proposed technology to the market.
Version of the future. So, in three-five years Microsoft (or another company that will acquire a license for this technology) will develop an inexpensive gadget that allows you to evaluate a single value: the state of comfort / discomfort of its owner (or, say, a state of “elation / depression” – though such pairs for different occasions may be proposed a lot, and the essence of technology is not tied to a particular pair, but is to provide visual feedback between people).
The gadget will be attached to clothing like the large round icon. Its outer surface will be a bright flicker “chameleon.” Depending on the indications of “the sensor comfort”, flicker will gradually change the color of the reflection (for example, from red – to yellow and then – to the green).
At first, a gadget as a high-tech wonder will be given to visitors of elite youth clubs and private parties. Then it will become a part of the scenario of fashion TV show, and then will begin to conquer stadiums, concert halls and discos (from this moment the gadget will be sold at every corner, as at the time – “tamogochi”).
Press will write: “There is a little thing that will allow you to stay in the crowd as yourself. Now the musician or DJ will know your true reaction: Were you good or bad, when you came into the room, and you become better or worse after the first, fifth, tenth song. They will not be deceived with your lighter, that you lit in the darkness of the hall, because so did your neighbors. They will not be misleading with cries of “Bravo!” or leaping whistle – because many viewers are buying a ticket for the right to blow the whistle or shout, and in any event will not deny this themselves. Now only drive is your truth. Musicians received a feedback channel, which helps to extract drive from themselves that works here and now, in this room and among these spectators. And the audience received their feedback channel, allowing to force the musician to play for them, the viewers. Well, the critics have to regulate their subjective invective with visualized breathing of the audience. We can only guess what will happen to the traditional music ratings in a month”.
“Visualized breathing of the audience” – seems fairly exact comparison. Of course, the sounds, which usually reach the actor from the audience – it’s good (“I have never seen such responsive audience, as in your town!”). But imagine a fascinating picture: multi-colored waves and patterns are slowly creeping along the spectator’s lines, gradually merging and becoming an all-over green field. And think like a musician whose skill and drive change literally the mood of the hall, “playing” with it, as with the keys or strings.
Accustomed to the world of show business and sports, gadget will come in private life. It will be given at the wedding to the newlyweds, handed out to the couples conflict in the session of a psychologist, given to the guests in the company of unfamiliar people, etc. The gadget will help people in different situations to find or restore mutual understanding, based on a simple rule: do what you want, say what you want – but the mood of your partner must be “green” (and if it is “red”, then you do or say something wrong.) Along the way, gadget users will save their relationships from total habit of mutual manipulation and blackmail: now you can not resort to the usual exaggeration of the type “you broke my heart,” when in the soul you laugh at partner.
By and large, the very possibility of such a gadget appearance is due to the fact that relations between people today form a clear surplus of lies, hypocrisy, manipulations. And this gadget:
1. clearly demonstrates the benefits of reducing pretense;
2. helps to reduce with control the level of pretense in the fields selected by the user.
This means that the distribution of the gadget does not lead to uncontrolled and catastrophic destruction of the foundations of modern society, from which will not be good to anyone. But, perhaps, the gadget will add to our lives any sincerity holiday.
Let’s continue, however. Corporate niche will open for the gadget after development of the private clientele. Moreover, it will be not in the control area (hyper control will have only result that supervisors will once again be disappointed, and controlled – will spend for the fraud the remains of creative energy). The true purpose of this gadget in relation to business will be negotiations with colleagues on the board, with potential clients, with employees and candidates for the job. The principle is the same: if you strive for mutual interest and satisfaction, propose options to partners until the bulb mounted on their side of the negotiating table “turn green”.
Relationships with customers and partners will become more transparent and predictable. And communication of employers with employees will be on the level of negotiations, in which, in reality, both parties are interested: not acquiescence is required by a wise employer but a sincere interest, and the employee need an employer predictable.
Conclusion applied. The impact of new technology may be increased or decreased by simply changing the “entry points” to the market. The role of the professionals responsible for the definition of inventions “entry points” should grow.
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