You’ve may have heard of quantified self, the term coined by Wired editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in 2007 to describe the growing practice of logging personal biological data. Nike’s Fuel Band, for example, really took off this year by offering wearers the chance to track their own physical activity.
Back in February, however, British supermarket Tesco was accused of using armbands on each of its warehouse workers to monitor speed of work, punishing workers for taking unauthorized breaks. It helped spark a conversation about the concept of a “quantified workplace,” wherein employers use increasingly commonplace tracking devices ostensibly to help employees help themselves become better worker bees. Yes, this kind of efficiency study has been used for over a century already, but it could add to the vast amount of personal data that is already beginning to replace traditional hiring (and firing) practices.