With a number of high-profile individuals recently being named and shamed regarding historical abuse, it got us thinking about how technology could have the power to help, even potentially cure, the problem of abuse in the workspace and in general.
To some it might be scary to think that future technology will have these kinds of capabilities, but others believe that if tech could have these sorts of capabilities, it is our duty to properly apply them in order to decrease, even make extinct, the number of predators in our world.
It would be ideal if when there are claims of abuse in a workplace, the union would do its job properly and the victim be properly supported and happy to carry on in their role. Unfortunately, people often feel unable to report abuse, especially if it’s a manager preying on an employee. It has been reported that women often feel that making claims of abuse can be almost as bad as the actual crime itself, hence why they might decide not to report it to their HR department.
Could technology be the answer to this problem?
There are a number of technologies being developed or that already exist which could be applied to this issue. With analytics management, we are already able to see key trends, for example, if a certain gender is being paid less than the other. Therefore, HR departments could use these analytics in order to see any anomalies. For instance, if a large number of staff members have left a certain department, it could hint at there being an issue with existing employees in that department.
Augmented reality technology
How do you feel about people basically becoming a walking camera, thanks to augmented reality? This may seem intrusive, but it could give individuals the ability to record abuse against them or people around them. If a person was able to wear a piece of jewellery or specially designed clothing that could record the situation they’re not comfortable with, it would take away the classic he-said-she-said element that HR departments and the police are often faced with.
Would the thought of you potentially being filmed put you off committing an offence?
Thanks to Amazon, Google and other big players, virtual personal assistants are becoming an element of everyday life. The ability to warn you of impending danger seems like the next logical step.
In addition to alerting you to danger, as the technology develops, behaviour modification could be a useful feature too. For instance, it could warn you regarding language which could contain questionable words. It could also inform you of intoxication or alert you to the behaviour of a person near you which could result in anything from a physical attack to being publicly embarrassed.
In addition to warning you about impending danger or recording abuse, technology could help individuals to experience abuse and negative behaviour, in order to put them off doing this themselves and help them feel empathy towards victims.
Could this have the potential to benefit everyone from the people committing acts of abuse to HR professionals being able to understand how victims of workspace bullying feel?
Such advances in technology may seem like a violation of your personal space, but if they have the ability to protect company board members from being accused of abuse, mitigate liability and help individuals feel safe in their workspace and personal lives, do we have the power to stop these developments even if we wanted to?