MIT Technology Review
Will Douglas Heaven
In the last few months, millions of people around the world stopped going into offices and started doing their jobs from home. These workers may be out of sight of managers, but they are not out of mind. The upheaval has been accompanied by a reported spike in the use of surveillance software that lets employers track what their employees are doing and how long they spend doing it.
Companies have asked remote workers to install a whole range of such tools. Hubstaff is software that records users’ keyboard strokes, mouse movements, and the websites that they visit. Time Doctor goes further, taking videos of users’ screens. It can also take a picture via webcam every 10 minutes to check that employees are at their computer. And Isaak, a tool made by UK firm Status Today, monitors interactions between employees to identify who collaborates more, combining this data with information from personnel files to identify individuals who are “change-makers.” (Full Article)
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted economic activity globally. Factories and warehouses are forced to shut down to protect their workers, while those that are essential struggle with preventing outbreaks. Could a more automated workforce have alleviated the economic damage COVID-19 has caused? The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) reported the cost of robots has decreased and continues to decrease enabling wide adoption. South Korea has seven robots per 100 workers and every third robot installed is in China. A 2019 report by Oxford Economics predicted 12.5 million manufacturing jobs will be automated in China by 2030. In the aftermath of the pandemic, it could be many more. (Full Article)