What if you knew what employees were thinking? Wouldn’t that just make your job in HR so much easier?
Australian HR software firm, Gooroo, believes that it has come up with a technology that can accurately mimic human thinking and therefore predict the decisions that any employee will make.
Anyone who remembers the plot of Minority Report, a sci-fi book by Philip K. Dick turned into a successful movie starring Tom Cruise will see similarities. In Minority Report, “pre-crime” technology provides the cops with the foreknowledge of misdemeanours so that they can hunt down the perpetrators (and potential victims) before they commit the crime.
Emerging from Gooroo’s Mindspace department, their Advanced Relational Meaning System or ARMS for short, reaches out to “map an individual’s decision-making patterns”, conflating the data to predict what workers will do “when faced with uncertainty, change and challenge”.
A patent application has been lodged for the technology, which saw the company’s shares jump by 15 per cent. And if further evidence were needed that this is a company which is being taken seriously, Microsoft signed a global partnership with the Gooroo in January last year. And last month, the company announced an alliance with KPMG’s AI division 49x, to explore opportunities in consumer retail, medical, real estate and federal government.
So assuming the technology gains traction, how is it likely to be applied?
Gooroo’s CEO, Greg Muller told media platform, Stockhead, that “the technology allows a program to read the capacity that we have to innovate, create and to be entrepreneurial”.
When we consider that over the next 10 to 15 years, automation is predicted to replace up to 40 per cent of Australian jobs, according to the Centre for Economic Development of Australia, the demand for this kind of technology isn’t hard to understand.
“Routine-based aspects of our jobs will be replaced with technologies so we need to work out who we are as individuals,” says Muller, who is convinced that personality matching and job demands will become more scientific.
“What Gooroo is sitting on is some rich IP [intellectual property] that is a massive asset to the business for its ability to chart and map the human mind,” says Muller.
This news comes hot on the heels of advances in insertable microchips that made headlines earlier this year and are currently being showcased in Melbourne at the launch of this year’s Pause Fest, a technology and culture festival. Epicentre, a company in Stockholm were the first to offer their staff the option of having chips inserted in lieu of swipe cards to access their building and a tech company, Three Square Market, in Wisconsin, were quick to follow suit.
Experimenting on employees seems to be the new frontier, opening up lots of new work for lawyers.
But while technology that replaces losing your key or passcard is useful to everyone at some practical level, the Gooroo technology that employs behavioural science inevitably means there will be losers as well as winners among employees.
How far individuals, unions or employee groups will be willing and happy to let the robots know what we’re thinking could be one of the big questions for the future.