The Two Faces of Bill Gates

Gates just gave a speech advocating a kindler, gentler capitalism, posing a good brother to the poor. At the same time, Microsoft is embarking on the most far reaching monitoring of workers ever contrived in which wireless sensors could read “heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure”, the application states. The system could also “automatically detect frustration or stress in the user” and “offer and provide assistance accordingly”.

 

Guth, Robert A. 2008. “Bill Gates Issues Call for Kinder Capitalism: Famously Competitive, Billionaire Now Urges Business to Aid the Poor.” Wall Street Journal (24 January): p. A 1.

 

“In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the software tycoon plans to call for a “creative capitalism” that uses market forces to address poor-country needs that he feels are being ignored. “We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well,” Mr. Gates will tell world leaders at the forum, according to a copy of the speech seen by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Gates isn’t abandoning his belief in capitalism as the best economic system. But in an interview with the Journal last week at his Microsoft office in Redmond, Wash., Mr. Gates said that he has grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism”.”

Mostrous, Alexi and David Brown. 2008. “Microsoft Seeks Patent for Office ‘Spy’ Software.” The Times (London) (16 January).

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3193480.ece

“Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence. The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.” “Microsoft submitted a patent application in the US for a “unique monitoring system” that could link workers to their computers. Wireless sensors could read “heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure”, the application states. The system could also “automatically detect frustration or stress in the user” and “offer and provide assistance accordingly”. Physical changes to an employee would be matched to an individual psychological profile based on a worker’s weight, age and health. If the system picked up an increase in heart rate or facial expressions suggestive of stress or frustration, it would tell management that he needed help.”

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