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I was moved to several levels of total stasis, you see, on reading an exposé about surveillance software in the Wall Street Journal.
It described the varying levels of privacy offered by varying types of software. It explained that Microsoft is one of the companies that doesn't believe simple activity translates into material productivity.
But then it offered the view of two professors -- Valerio De Stefano of Canada's York University and Antonio Aloisi of the IE University in Madrid.
As Aloisi told the WSJ: "There is definitely no study pointing out that this increases productivity in any meaningful way."
I already hear you mutter that science, like the law, is always too slow for technology's speedy innovations. I hear others of you snort that this may be, but wouldn't it be nice to have objective, peer-reviewed proof that surveillance technology makes humans more productive?
There is, it seems, some scientific evidence that the reverse may be true.
But, think of the basic human psychology. Are you ever at your best when you know you're being spied on? Do you offer the best version of yourself when you're aware that every single movement you make is being recorded? It's not easy to dance as if no one's watching.
Or could it be that you're at your most productive when you work for people who trust your talent and judgment?
There's another aspect, too. What does it say about managers' ability to manage if they have to constantly surveil those they manage? Might this suggest a lack of confidence in their management skills? Or even a simple lack of their management skills?
I wonder who'll invent surveillance software that only works for a certain time and then declares, "Yup, this employee can totally be trusted to get on with it by themselves. Switching off the surveillance now."
Wouldn't that at least have a chance of being productive?