NATHANBOT 2000 STARES AT YOU: "You're likely to be 0.00001 nanoseconds behind schedule Mr Jones," it says, staring critically over its glasses, which it wears to put humans at ease.
That's potentially the future IBM is paving the way for as Big Blue has taught its Watson Artificial intelligence (AI) to make predictions about a company's employee's future performance.
According to a report by Bloomberg, IBM Watson Analytics sucks up data based on IBM employees' experiences and projects and figures out the skills and qualities they might have to offer the company in the future.
The smart tech also gobbles info from Big Blue's databases to find if those workers have boosted their skills. It then serves a performance rating up to managers who can then look at the score and decide what pay, bonuses and promotions the employees might be up for.
You'd be forgiven for screaming 'dystopia' at the top of your fleshy human lungs at the idea of having your future success determined by some smart code and cloud computing power.
But in IBM's case, the tech actually helps its human workers. There are nearly 400,000 workers at IBM, which means a lot of data for HR folks to work through. So having an AI system that can take care of some of the tedious work is arguably not a bad idea.
And IBM reckons such an AI system will encourage workers to do more to boost their skillsets.
That being said, AI often proves that it's not great at general thinking; rather it's good at following models its been trained upon, which often leads to embarrassing and pseudo-racist faux pas. So there's probably no need to choke on your poo water, Mr Gates.
However, IBM noted that this use of Watson had a 96 per cent accuracy rate in predicting workers' future performance when compared with internal analysis work carried out by HR folks.
As such, if Watson does prove itself to be the workplace Mystic Meg, then, somewhat ironically, HR staff could find themselves out of a job having been replaced by the Watson AI.
Welcome to the future folks, please get in an orderly queue and your rations will be served shortly. µ
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