Opinion: Don’t let the ‘feeling’ police take control

PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 January 2020

Comedian and broadcaster Steve Allen wonders whether bosses should be able to read employees feellings.

Comedian and broadcaster Steve Allen wonders whether bosses should be able to read employees feellings.


Are you happy? There are many ways to answer that question but if you thought, “It’s none of your business, Steve,” you were spot on.

That's why I have been concerned by the news that a technology has been invented that will let bosses know if their employees are in a good mood. The system can read micro-expressions on people's faces that give away how they feel.

I don't have a problem with the technology. It would be useful to have an app that could tell you how someone is really feeling so when you ask your other half if they're ok and they say, "Fine," you could whip out the app, get the reading and see that it's best to leave the house for a few hours.

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It's the use of this technology at work that worries me. You don't want your mood bringing up in your annual review. This is one step beyond the thought police, this is the feeling police.

There are some questions you don't want the answer to. Are your employees happy? Probably not. They're at work and their boss is monitoring their face.

The firm behind this says it will let them help staff with any issues but we all know where this will end. Studies link happiness with productivity so unless you're happy everyday at work the boss will dock your pay.

We will end up in a world where everyone has a fixed grin. In shops people will be over-polite. It'll be like living in America. I worry for the future of miserable-faced people like myself.

Then I read further and found that the company trying this, RotaCloud, is based in Yorkshire. If they won't employ dour people up there they'll have to shut. We're safe. And I almost look happy about it.

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