I have a piece over at Medium, called Tomorrow’s technology, yesterday’s insights. It’s about how the tech industry now tries to convince HR that big data, harvested through surveillance of employees, is a must-have – and the roots and implications of that.
And why are the industry’s supposedly exemplary discoveries so totally underwhelming? Why did Google have to invest heavily in data mining to find out something that’s been well known for fifty years (largely thanks to a process called ”democracy”)?
And was it really a surprise when big data generated from wearable GPS trackers showed that nurses at a Florida hospital were spending their days racing back and forth, across the hospital?
”Again, I have a modest proposal: you’ll find out the same thing by simply asking the nurses.
Or even better, by spending a day walking in their shoes. Then you might even realise that your business would run more smoothly if the nurses were allowed to organise their work themselves, rather than being ’assigned’ tasks by someone — or something — with no first-hand, real-world knowledge of their environment.”
As Paul Robert Lloyd notes, ”Give technologists a problem, and they’ll try and solve it with technology.”
I belive that the biggest problem here, however, is the neo-Taylorist notion of a clueless workforce that needs to be led by an all-powerful, benevolent leadership, one that makes decisions on their behalf.
Sometimes the tech world comes up with has already been tried and rejected and really doesn’t need to be resurrected.
Go read it.