IBM Seeks Patent For Biosensor-Based Hiring

from the taylorism-is-back... dept

theodp writes "A just-published IBM patent application for Optimizing Utilization of a Donor describes how to monitor ‘the somatic (i.e. physical) and affective (i.e. emotional) states of human resources’ to determine ‘an optimal allocation of the human resources to tasks.’ IBM further explains that ‘the emotional and physical states may be sensed via non-invasive biosensors.’ And what exactly will be measured and sensed? Physical condition can be determined by measuring ‘the level of blood sugar, the blood heat, or the like.’ And clues to ‘a human resource’s mood to perform a job with lust, joy or any other emotional condition’ can be found by looking at ‘changes in autonomic functions, such as, for example, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, sweating, trembling, and other features like hormonal changes; changes in body temperature; and changes in neural function that are measurable.’ So if you want that job with Big Blue, perhaps you better make sure that your Blood Pressure, Pulse, Mood, and Level of Fatigue are as up-to-snuff as your skills. Yikes."

This sounds like the modern equivalent of Taylorism, which never faired all that well in the first place. Effectively, this sounds like simply applying modern technologies to a typical Taylor-like review of a worker.

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Companies: ibm

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Comments on “IBM Seeks Patent For Biosensor-Based Hiring”

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Johnson Rice (user link) says:

Wrong Interpretation?

It seems like Mike’s interpretation of this is a bit backwards.

This system does not sound like it is for hirees, nor that the scanner will be used for testing potential employees for somatic and affective conditions…

Rather, it seems that IBM wants to scan the hiring manager and HR staff’s physical and mental states.

They want to ensure that the hiring managers aren’t hiring hot women when they haven’t gotten any, or turning down an otherwise good candidate because they are grumpy.

Nevertheless, this is still scary as hell, but IBM is talking about scanning current HR staff, not incoming potentials.

Could be a first step toward Gattaca.

Jake says:

Re: Wrong Interpretation?

I somehow doubt it would be hard to adjust it for other purposes, and IBM have probably left their patent open-ended enough to tie things up in court for years if someone comes up with a competing system to be used on the interviewee instead.
In which case, I’m for putting off patent reform until there’s been time to take steps to discourage these things from being misused. Innovation sans frontiers can be a double-edged sword.

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