Friday, 21 March 2014

Life - quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Technician, we want you to build a component...

A really interesting article from the Grauniad which details the activities of a firm in London that's using smartphone apps to track every waking moment of their employee's lives. Is it voluntary? No, not exactly (which raises some rather vexing human rights issues) but what's more it's seen as simply an extension of the quantified self movement where everything we do is analysed, measured and shared.

Me, I think I may pass. Have enjoyed checking my times on a couple of cycling apps, but this is all starting to get both too narcissistic and too creepy; another instance where we don't have to rely on governments collecting data on us as we're all too happy to volunteer it ourselves.

Bread and circuses? Seems all you need is an app that says 'well done'.

These companies are tracking the fitness of their employees

As English prog band Twelfth Night chanted on their excellent 'We are Sane' track back in the very early 1980s:

"Technician we want you to build a component
For each of our workers to be with them always
At all time watch closely so we can keep track of
Their actions their interests their morals their time out...
...The maintenance of power can be so fulfilling
Just as long as all the slaves are willing"