This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: hi-tech hat mines data from minds of workers
Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric is just one example of the large-scale application of brain surveillance devices to monitor people’s emotions and other mental activities in the workplace, according to scientists and companies involved in the government-backed projects.
==> "brain surveillance" ?
Concealed in regular safety helmets or uniform hats, these lightweight, wireless sensors constantly monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and stream the data to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage.
==> "brainwaves" ? This is not exactly the same thing than "brain surveillance". Monitoring brainwaves is actually measuring electromagnetic activity of a piece of live meat. Relating those waves to the ideas floating "inside the box" seems were unlikely (at least until we have figured how the brain works, but this may take some time). IMHO, the whole stuff sounds like technobullshit...
The technology is also in use at in Hangzhou at State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power, where it has boosted company profits by about 2 billion yuan (US$315 million) since it was rolled out in 2014, according to Cheng Jingzhou, an official overseeing the company’s emotional surveillance programme.
“There is no doubt about its effect,” Cheng said.
==> Chinese people being free to criticize decisions or projects of their own country in their own newspapers is a well known fact.
Jin Jia, associate professor of brain science and cognitive psychology at Ningbo University’s business school, said a highly emotional employee in a key post could affect an entire production line, jeopardising his or her own safety as well as that of others.
“When the system issues a warning, the manager asks the worker to take a day off or move to a less critical post. Some jobs require high concentration. There is no room for a mistake,” she said.
==> Sounds fair, especially when the worker is running a nuclear plant or managing air traffic. But gadgets like this wouldn't be necessary if workers were managed in a more humane way. "Hey dude, you ok ?" is something a colleagues might say, and wouldn't require mass-surveillance.
With improved speed and sensitivity, the device could even become a “mental keyboard” allowing the user to control a computer or mobile phone with their mind.
==> This has already been made possible for disabled people. The key is not exactly the amount of technology in the hat (measuring electromagnetic fields is something we've been able to do for decades). The point is that the user will have to train his/her brain in a specific way so as to pair an action (turn something on) with "something" happening in his brain.
For more about the brain and the brain-to-computer interface, please read "Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future" (https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html
). Pretty long read by HIGHLY INTERESTING!