Monday, February 02, 2004

Two scary things at work: psychopaths and Big Brother

1) How many people work in your company? If there are 100 employees, you can count on having one psychopath. For 200, two psychopaths, and so on. So says a study reported on by Washington Post columnist Richard Morin.

Morin explains that New Economy companies with lax rules attract more psychpaths than old-style, bureaucratic ones and points out some characteristics to be on the watch for.

(Thanks to T+D Extra for pointing out this item. To subscribe to the free e-newsletter, go to

2) According to an article in Wired News, your computer may soon be doing more than letting you write presentations, check email, and play Solitaire. Technology is being developed that enables computers, hooked up to people's bodies, to provide real-time information on their emotional and physical states. And not just to the user--to anyone an organization deems the information relevant to.

One of the technology's developers says such systems would make us "more fully human." I'm not so sure: It sounds like Big Brother to me if it's used in the daily operations of corporations. But one main use for this type of information, the Wired article says, would be in the military where lives can depend on someone else's emotional and physical state. I can see the application there, perhaps.

Also, an efficiency coach interviewed by Wired envisioned such technology being used by individuals themselves to work as biofeedback. There's something like that already--I wrote about it in a February 2002 feature article ("Put Your HeartMath Into It"). HeartMath's Freeze-Framer software lets users monitor and modify their heart rhythms for better business performance.

What about you, dear readers? Can you see a (non-Big Brother use) use for this type of technology at your organization? What applications do you see for training?

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