Monday, January 18, 2016

Fleets: They know how you feel

It could happen.

Apple recently bought a technology startup called Emotient that rates your mood by analyzing your face. The idea is to gauge your instant reactions rather than later responses to a questionnaire – in other words, what you really feel as opposed to what you say you feel. It’s supposed to be used as you watch ads, presentations, etc. – presumably when testers can get good shots of your face.
I ask you: What clearer shot of a face is there than from a company camera in a truck pointed at you?

It’s only a matter of time before this emotion software finds its way to companies that sell big truck fleets stuff to get drivers, keep drivers, and wring more productivity out of drivers.

Now the camera system trained on you sends pictures to the boss only when you mash the brakes, hit something, or something hits you. At least that’s what they tell us.

But what if the video system recorded your emotions? What if it sent a message to the boss whenever you frowned (poor customer relations) or laughed (distraction) or sneered (subversive thoughts)? The company would have a map of your feelings, a wealth of the most personal data.

Maybe they could aggregate that data across the fleet and mount a huge, electronic emoticon on the wall at central dispatch. It could display the real-time mood of the active fleet on the road, from a smile to a snarl. 

Not sure what it would accomplish, but does it matter? Fleets would always rather spend money on goofy stuff to keep you from thinking too much about what they (don’t) pay you. 


Actually, we’re on that path already. There is a company called WorkHound that measures and reports “driver happiness” scores to fleets. Really. We wrote about it in December’s Land Line.

The WorkHound people say it helps fleets solve little problems before they become big ones. I think the fleets like to know when you’re really pissed off so they can fire you before you start talking to the other drivers.

But that’s just me.

Next, of course, will be the driver brain-sensor helmet that reveals your actual thoughts. Fleets will love that.

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