Turning Humans Into Algos: The Trend Of Employees Wearing "Biosensing Wearable Devices" At Work

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The future is here.

Just yesterday, I published an article titled, “Minority Report”-esque Big Brother Billboards are Coming to England. Here’s an excerpt in case you missed it:

Much of the shift is being driven by today’s enhanced data-collection and analysis power. Ocean’s three new billboards in Birmingham, shaped like large human eyes, will broadcast ads like regular digital billboards, but have the ability to change based on how many of a certain group are within “eyesight” of the camera.


But software will analyze the feeds to pick up facial features and how long a person looked at an advertisement, according to Olivier Duizabo, chief executive of Quividi, the company that made the software.

Today, I came across a Bloomberg article that highlighted how some companies, particularly hedge funds looking for an edge, are having employees wear “biosensing wearable devices,” in order to collect detailed analytics about them and hopefully improve performance.

We learn that:


The future of the high-performance workplace is taking shape behind closed doors and kept quiet by non-disclosure agreements.


Across the U.K., hedge funds, banks, call centers and consultancies are installing tracking systems to link biosensing wearable devices with analytics tools once the preserve of elite sports.


The new tools help link human behavior and physiological data to business performance. It’s a departure from typical wearable technology strategies, which tend to focus on operational efficiency or safety.


“Yes, it’s already happening, starting off with some of the big hedge funds,” says John Coates, a Cambridge neuroscientist and former Goldman Sachs trader, who is actively working with companies to link biological signals to trading success.


Coates says he is working with three or four hedge funds to implement such an early-warning system: “A lot of smart managers think their algos have gone as far as they can go. The next step is human optimization.”


While much is happening in secret, some companies across a range of sectors are open about their experiments with biosensing wearables.


Humanyze’s smart work badges contain microphones and and precision positioning technology.


“We’re doing voice analysis in real time,” says CEO Ben Waber. The system looks at how much individuals talk, how loudly they speak, whether they interrupt or sound stressed. “We also look at how much you move around and interact with other teams.”


Even without those issues, there are glaring privacy and morale implications to consider.


“You can’t all of a sudden tell people to wear a load of sensors. That’s creepy,” says Humanyze’s Waber.


Chris Brauer believes the privacy debate will fade once people realize the potential of this sort of human performance analytics. 


“The idea that you can augment yourself with technologies will become absolutely commonplace and a natural progression.”

Of course, if mere data monitoring isn’t enough for you, there are other options. For example, Fit Clarity is working on a Fitbit-like device, called Pavlok (clever name), that will shock you if you aren’t exercising enough. From Maxim:

The expanding universe of fitness trackers has a rising star which is half Fitbit, half stun gun: Pavlok. If you consider the gentle buzz of a silent reminder from your current wearable only so much weak sauce, Pavlok’s solution is simple–a little electroshock therapy.


Fit Clarity reports Pavlok tries a subtle approach before lowering the boom, “it starts with just vibrations. This quickly advances to a small alarm and if you are too stubborn to heed the warning, it will shock you.” Fit Clarity says Pavlok then follows up with old-fashioned social media shaming, posting to your Facebook page if you get lazy and skip your run, visit to the CrossFit box or even legs day.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 9.52.59 AM

It’s a brave new world out there.

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JustObserving's picture

Not that new - the idiot box has been turning humans into idiots for decades.

Then it was Smartphones.

6 Shocking Ways TV Rewires Your Brain


Children who watch too much TV may have 'damaged brain structures'



DetectiveStern's picture

It's all part of the plan. Have a swarming mass of thicko's voting for whichever puppet has the catchiest soundbites.

Skateboarder's picture

Chains are now fashionable!

(adaptation of a sign I once saw in a mall that said "Tea is now fashionable!")

Ignatius's picture

Strange how technology seems to be driving culture: do it because you can do it.  In that way it's analogous to babysitting a nine year old girl.  Just because you could fuck her and get away with it doesn't mean you should.  A society without a moral and ethical center is doomed.

Santini Air's picture
Santini Air (not verified) Ignatius Aug 13, 2015 11:14 AM

Blaming technology for dumb people is the same mentality as blaming guns for causing crime.

Ignatius's picture

Not what I'm saying.  As example, just because you can spy on everyone doesn't mean you should.

OrangeJews's picture
OrangeJews (not verified) Ignatius Aug 13, 2015 11:49 AM

What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
-Herbert Simon

BLOTTO's picture

Mark(s) of the Beast...

Santini Air's picture
Santini Air (not verified) DetectiveStern Aug 13, 2015 10:48 AM



This is a step in the right direction.  The remaining physical humans would do well to read the writing on the wall.  You are best to virtualize yourself and merge with the all-encompassing internet-conciousness of Satoshi Nakamoto.


SMG's picture

Coming soon! The Pavlok iPro 3.  If you still don't exercise and/or obey, it explodes.


People are already lining up at the Pavlok store, so you better hurry and get yours.


KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Of course this will all be unhackable, you know, just like the OPM servers were. Tech is a two edged sword and it WILL be used against its creators...Welcome to Skynet.......

AGuy's picture

This story reminds me of the scene in Ghost Busters when Bill Murray conducts a test for ESP with electro shock feedback for wrong answers. Bill continuely zaps the guy even on right answers, and doesn't zap the girl (in order to get her in Bed). I am sure employers will use a simular technque on their employess (Boss biasing results for the people they like)


Ghostbusters Shock Scene


Yen Cross's picture

  I'de be sure and pack my pockets with dog shit and spray myself with pregnant coyote urine on those days.

Handful of Dust's picture

I still sprinkle myself with some left over skunk spray. Worked great during deer hunting and also repels Thugs.

vq1's picture

perfect employee.


perfect consumer.


perfect citizen. 


its disappointing because I work for a company that does health-oriented wearables with the goal of bringing the users health stats to the user. Its your body, its your data, you dont have to go to a doctor to get it. And it has no way of transmitting the information back to us. But, as pointed out above, MOST wearables and IOT will be used to optimize input of information and output of product. 

The man with pointy horns's picture

Just wait until not putting on these devices is associated with mental illness and the need to take medication.

"But everyone is using it so why aren't you?" "What is wrong with you?"

These devices plus medication equals total thought control.

pods's picture

Wait for the first lawsuit when a group of Dindus look at those billboards and a KFC ad pops up.


lasvegaspersona's picture


Creepy and unlikely to do more than find out who is screwing who.

Bullionaire's picture

Too much fapping, son. Slip this over your wrist...

freedogger's picture

So if I understand this right, soon, I'll be walking down the street with my wife and kids and all the billboards will be flashing asian single hotty adds at me? I am doomed.

chunga's picture

You are getting sleepy, very sleepy...and you will BTFATH!

peter4805's picture

It will be a cold day in hell before I let my privacy be violated worse than it already is.

Heywood Jahblohmee's picture

I am almost 70.    I think my generation had it the best , everyone before and after us is FUCKED.

lasvegaspersona's picture

Our parents got Social Security that they barely paid for themselves. Our kids will not be able to support us (hell they can't support themselves)...loved the 60s though....there were 15 years between birth control and AIDS when sex was.... revolutionary.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yes, I had to contain myself when my mother-in-law bragged she only paid $4/month in SS during the sixties. Since she retired at 55 and is now 85 she certainly reaped a good return.

Yes, the sex was revolutionary but being born in 61 I personally didn't experience it. I do wonder though since this was the first of massive environmental estrogens being pumped into our society, it's degradation may have some root in this. A Salk researcher friend of mine felt so as well and asked for funding in this area. He was rejected and told what would happen to him if further inqueries in this area were ever made again. We both agreed this answered our question somewhat. Once again, things are never free.


Skateboarder's picture

Soy... I cut it out of my diet entirely. Whenever I end up eating soy now, I feel like shit.

That GM version of that stuff is evil.

And that's only one means of the estrogen pumping. The psychological version of it via means of media is just as gnarly. "Scientists" only get funding and maintain credibility as long as the 'research' meets the agenda of whoever supplies the funds, as many ZHers have long known or come to realize. Anything that might reveal the charade is obviously disallowed.

All hail the Church of Science and its god, Scietan.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Absolutely. Soy baby formula should be a crime. I can't believe little boys are being fed this shit. My Salk friend was interested in researching the children born exposed to the first release of the Pill which was very high estrogen than today. Considering a significant number of pregnant mothers were still taking it in their first trimester not knowing they were pregnant, he was wondering what effects that amounts of estrogen had on the fetus. DES which was used also at that time has been shown to have multigenerational damage to both men and women. However, in terms of money, the pill and estrogen replacement therapy is big business. I personally don't believe in messing around with hormones.


lasvegaspersona's picture

Anyone who needs electro shock to do a workout is unlikely to do  workout of much benefit.

I suggest Bert Herrings Fast Five diet and regulat cardio and quad sets. If you are over 50 and not training for a sport this is probably a good level for simple longevity and enjoyment of life without falls and with the ability to get around.

If you are an athlete you don't need random advice.

I'll vouch for Herring's diet. I lost from 165 to 150 in 4 months. It is simple, cheap and has a bit o real science behind it.


You can keep your fitbit.

Skateboarder's picture

I can't understand the whole fitbit culture. Grew up running 5 to 15 miles a day in my childhood and early youth, and there's lots of others like me. There were no fitbits - I just biked out to the hills and hit the trails running every weekend while my friends slept in and caught Saturday morning cartoons (R.I.P.). I guess it's a difference of motivation.

My tips:

- Drink a liter of water when you wake up and before you sleep (you might have to piss).
- Avoid foods that come pre-packaged, and eat your meals till 80% full. Don't stuff yer face silly every meal.
- Fats are good: milk, cheese, avocados. Yogurt is good. Eat plenty and don't skimp out on quality in those foods - get the best available.
- Don't drink more than a small cup of water before and after your meal.
- Get yer heart rate up with some sort of fast walk / run / sprint type of activity 30 mins. a day.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

It's not a culture. It's a cult. I am the last of 70 people where I work who doesn't have a Fitbit. There are many entities in our health system so we are all supposed to compete with one another in steps. High steppers are featured in our monthly news letter as " Health Models" we are all supposed to emulate.

My entity is a loser. Probably because we have many 300-400 pounders that only count steps to their desk, bathroom and cars. One even has wheels on her custom made chair and I don't think Fitbit can be calibrated to consider that movement. Because I am active I am being pressured to wear one to offset our unfortunate situation. I commented we as a group seem not to have lost any weight or improved our health in the year this has been going on so maybe we should focus on something different. " Oh Miffed, you are so negative about everything!" *Sigh*


Skateboarder's picture

Intra-organizational step-count competitions tracked by fitbits...

How about a bell around everyone's neck, and let's hear how often it rings. Fucken scumbags.

I hope you are never required to wear one.

pods's picture

Just suggest that they all start smoking. :)

Dr. Engali's picture

I couldn't help but think about how appropriate the name similarities between Pavlock and Pavlov are when it comes to this story. The sheeple today are being trained like a pack of dogs. I wonder if any of the participants will figure it out. 

1stepcloser's picture

Let me know when health insurance requires a butt plug sensor to detect colon polyps 

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture



"Another step towards the singularity. Resistance is futile , you will eventually be assimilated; but in the mean time

we will fit you with an anal probe/shock-sensor.  If you return from lunch logy, then the sensor will "enhance"

your performance repeatedly until productivity is acceptable."   <----------  this was all said with a monotone Borg voice.

gcjohns1971's picture

The enslavement of humanity is almost complete.


Here's how it works:

- Biggest companies buy government regulation to suppress newcomers/competitors.

- Biggest companies then clamp down on employees...because they have nowhere else to go (this is the only way that 'unemployment' can exist other than voluntary unemployment).

- Government sells "Free Stuff" (which isn't free, but simply funded through inflation - meaning stolen from savers) so that people will tolerate their miserable slave-lives, ahem work-lives.

- Bankers promise to fund unlimited government borrowing needed to provide all the "Free Stuff", in return for monopoly on currency, and the ability to loan out money at interest, whic they don't actually have.  (Great gig, huh?  Loaning things you don't have in return for a compounding fee?)

- Borrowers (actually Takers...since they won't be repaying anything) love this system because it shrinks the value of their debts to less than the principal amount.  This makes anyone who borrows richer than anyone who does not borrow, and makes those who borrow to buy 'productive' assets, or rentiers, richer than actual producers.

21st Century Slave guild runs the world.

roadhazard's picture

Fuck that shit. I wouldn't even consider a job that made you wear a tie. I am so glad my working daze are over and I am back in the woods.

Skateboarder's picture

One of my favorite passages of all time:

"A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do, that has lain dusty in the garret for an indeterminate period. Old shoes will serve a hero longer than they have served his valet -- if a hero ever has a valet -- bare feet are older than shoes, and he can make them do. Only they who go to soires and legislative balls must have new coats, coats to change as often as the man changes in them. But if my jacket and trousers, my hat and shoes, are fit to worship God in, they will do; will they not? Who ever saw his old clothes -- his old coat, actually worn out, resolved into its primitive elements, so that it was not a deed of charity to bestow it on some poor boy, by him perchance to be bestowed on some poorer still, or shall we say richer, who could do with less? I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry and expansion; for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil. Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind."

- From "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

The brave new world knows not of such contemplations...

roadhazard's picture

Thoreau must have had a "honey do" list a mile long.


Big Corked Boots's picture



Thoreau was a wise man.

He was single.

roadhazard's picture

I make joke, maybe should have spoke in Russian.

meistergedanken's picture

“By associating the electrical stimulus with the undesired action, your brain quickly stops liking that action.”

So we could use this on the gays, right?

Mr. Bones's picture

I think the fed published a paper on the "disturbing" trend that traders are restoring to pharmacology to get an edge.  Here it is:




 Why wouldn't they use technology?


Implied Violins's picture