Artificial intelligence holds great importance these days, for instance, the use of AI in security systems ensuring 100% security and identifying dangerous scenarios. Still, at times its implementation in human lives seems a little too spooky.
Have you ever thought that one would head to work on Mondays feeling all chirpy and happy? But now one might have to pretend. According to an initial report from The Financial Times, Canon’s offices came up with this “smile recognition” technology and installed cameras throughout the offices of its China-based subsidiary, Canon Information Technology. Their goal is to boost employee morale and detect abnormal behaviors if any.
Canon’s invasive AI-enabled ‘smile recognition’ is not a very foreign idea
This kind of technological development seems quite bizarre. Some people are private about their sentiments; not everyone wants to put on a show. Using AI and algorithms to enforce employees with a smile, ensuring they’re “happy” is seemingly odd. CCTV cameras are used to observe employees during lunch break. Even when the workers leave the office, mobile apps track their actions and monitor which programs employees use while on their computers to optimize productivity. Sounds like a prison, no?
“Workers are not being replaced by algorithms and artificial intelligence,” said Nick Srnicek of King’s College, London, to FT. “Instead, the management is sort of augmented by these technologies […] Technologies are increasing the pace for people who work with machines instead of the other way around, just like what happened during the industrial revolution in the 18th century. The company has developed a new set of workplace management tools, and ‘smile recognition’ technology has been a major part of it. Canon Information Technology’s future workplace vision is pretty twisted and has by far evaded public privacy.
Such bizarre practices are also getting common in the lands of US and UK . Canon’s AI and other monitoring technologies have gone overlooked for such a long period of time that public invasion has become a need of the modern era, both in China and elsewhere. Take Amazon, for instance, they get profit at the cost of their workers’ health and position worker productivity via algorithms to determine which people it no longer needs.
Companies are implementing dystopic suites of invasive tools
Since the pandemic kicked in, more and more people are working from home; therefore, companies are strategically using such surveillance tools to identify their most productive employees. Quite a few software groups, including Microsoft 365, now feature fully integrated surveillance tools of their workers. Whether U.S. companies have always wanted to do this is up for debate. It would be safe to say that this worldwide calamity has played a major role in promoting high-class-exploitative technology and dystopic policies.
At this humanitarian crisis, Canon’s AI-enabled smile recognition cameras are not what the world needs right now. With such behavioral control systems, it’s not easy working for a living, and you really need to put yourself out there, which seems unfair. And in the future, circumstances probably won’t get any better.