It sounds like something out of a Black Mirror episode, but according to recent news reports, Chinese companies are using special helmets to monitor workers’ brain activity in order to reduce stress, manipulate break times with the ultimate goal of increasing productivity.
The South China Morning Post recently reported employee brainwave monitoring in China is used on an unprecedented scale. Sensors concealed in work helmets and lightweight hats constantly monitor and collect workers’ brain activity, which is then fed into computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms that detect “emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage”. This data is then used by management to adjust the work schedule and pace of production or to change working conditions in order to increase productivity.
Hangzhou-based State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power is one of the many companies relying on employee brainwave monitoring, and according to Cheng Jingzhou, the official in charge of the “emotional surveillance program”, it has definitely paid off. The company’s 40,000 employees manage the power supply and distribution network to homes and businesses in Hangzhou province, and this program has allowed them to that to a higher standard.