Daqing Yi

Start From "Big Brother Management"

03 Jan 2016

I am a strong believer that the world is going to be changed by artificial intelligence. Like the precedessors, steamer, electricty, computer and internet, the power of artificial intelligence is re-innovating many aspects of human’s life. Management seems to be one of those that are starting to change. I read a very interesting and also frightening article today, which is titled “big brother management”. http://www.theworldin.com/article/10630/big-brother-management

Before the labor could be replaced by robotics, some functions of management are taken place by machines and algorithms. If you believe performance evaluation motivates working performance, you might also agree that there are many weaknesses in current game, in which managers and peers rate one’s performance by impression. The imprecison inside the rating calls a big share of management researches try to answer the question of what a scientific way of performance measurement is. Machine and algorithms can give direct answers.

There are already companies that measure a coder’s work by number of lines coded. Direct measurement on workload will definitely be favored and adpoted by more and more companies. Similar approaches of workload measurement will be proposed for different jobs. Like mentioned in the article, the times of keystrokes and clicks can be used to measure how hard one worked. Truly, there are far more customized ways of measuring one’s workload by the working tasks. For example, deployed sensors on a mover’s body can recognize the amount of completed works, including how many pieces are moved in a day and how much effort is spent in each. This is not far. Once activity recognition algorithms provide high precision in simple sensors, it is ready to be industry applied. With this big and small data, the big brother or the big boss can see in front of the screen to enjoy beautiful reports automatically generated each hour, each day. Moreover, when the performance and workload can be measured, intelligent scheduling algorithms can then be used to distribute labors to optimize the overall performance. For example, an algorithm will assign less work to worker A so that he will be asked to assist worker B after finishing assigned ones. Our pretty path-planning algorithm might even enforce how a worker should move to maximize the team performance. You can picture a scene that employees will be monitored, organized and ordered by intelligent algorithms.

This is another example how a human’s behavior will be dominated by machine intelligence. I doubt this could bring a future with higher efficiency in working. This is also not something I would expect to see in a better world. As a researcher, I would hope the low-level labors could be replaced earlier than the high-level management by machine intelligence. As an oridnary human being, I will try to run one step ahead of machines and algorithms.