Remember Google Glasses? Turns out they are still a thing.
Granted, they’re for manufacturing and specialty industrial purposes now. Google discovered that people weren’t quite ready for glasses that recorded everything.
I was talking with someone today about how useful it might be to have Google Glass in construction/maintenance/contracting work. He was remarking how it would be cool to be able to see what employees were doing.
I get it. There’s a strong incentive to minimize employee waste – because many employees really do waste time. And I have no doubt that some companies will try to implement greater levels of employee surveillance as technology increases.
But here’s the thing: only responsible people can create massive value for a business in the long term. Only people who are free will choose to be responsible. And only people who are trusted believe that they are free.
People who are watched – and know it? They’ll feel so much unease about avoiding the perception of unproductiveness that they’ll worry their way into it. Surveillance of any kind is an enemy to long-term productivity – at least of the kind worth keeping. Even a high-knowledge job with exorbitant pay would feel like slavery (and produce about the same poor results) if it was surveilled.
Privacy gives even employees some small piece of space or time to call their own. And ownership will be the better model, even if it isn’t perfect. Turn the cameras off.