Headgear with EEG sensors built in is giving Chinese companies a new level of power over their staff, despite the technology’s profound limitations.
The news: The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese employees working in factories, in the military, and on trains are being given hats and helmets equipped to monitor their brain waves for sudden changes in their emotional state. The Post says the government-sponsored project scans data from the caps for signs of depression, anxiety, or rage using AI, and the businesses adjust work accordingly.
Does it actually work? Yeah, probably not. Over-the-skin brain scanning through EEG is still very limited in what it can detect, and the relationship between those signals and human emotion is not yet clear. Being able to gather enough information to somehow get a two billion yuan ($315 million) boost in profits—which is what one firm, State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power, claims in the piece—is incredibly doubtful.
Why it matters: Details in the Post’s piece are sketchy, and claims about the technology’s efficacy are almost certainly being embellished. If it’s just an attempt to talk up a technological “breakthrough,” that’s one thing. But if it really is being relied upon, is it being used to reassign workers—or potentially even terminate them—because of their perceived emotions? In that case, China is indeed leading the way in workplace surveillance in a way that stands to benefit no one.
Embracing CX in the metaverse
More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.
Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation
As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.
The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain
For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.
Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains
The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.