Doom: Rise of the Machines (Again)

Tyler Cowen has some nice excerpts on how computers are now grading job performance. One story is that so called "Big-Data" now allows companies to evaluate how nuances of worker performance affect bottom line performance, putting to rest dependence on superficial criteria. The panopticon can observe you every milli-second.

To aid that search [for better workers], Juhl this month will begin using an online video game designed to track, record and analyze every millisecond of its players’ behavior. Developed by Knack in Palo Alto, California, Wasabi Waiter places job-seekers in the shoes of a sushi server who must identify the mood of his cartoon customers and bring them the dish labeled with the matching emotion. On a running clock, they must also clear empty dishes into the sink while tending to new customers who take a seat at the bar.

Using about a megabyte of data per candidate, Knack’s software measures a variety of attributes shown in academic studies to relate to job performance, including conscientiousness and the capacity to recognize others’ emotions. Knack’s clients will also see a score estimating each applicant’s likelihood of being a high performer.

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Of course simulations are only one evaluation tool. Monitoring real situation performance can be done, slightly more expensively, on the job as well. Computer workers, naturally, are trivial to monitor. The panoptican not only knows how much time you spend surfing, but how your performance compares with that of those who surf more or less.


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