Microsoft System Would Monitor Workplace Employees For Bad Behavior, Assign Positivity Ratings

Brad Chacos

“The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.” That kind of brutal honesty to higher-ups shocked our senses and made us laugh when Peter Gibbons uttered it in Office Space . But could forthcoming generations not get the gag? That bit’s future funniness lies in doubt now that Microsoft’s newest technology patent has broken cover. The patent describes a computer program that monitors employees’ behaviors in emails, texts, VOIP conversations and interactions caught on video conferences, then identifies behaviors as either “negative” or “positive” and assigns employees a positivity rating based on the findings. It's in your HEAD!

Geekwire pointed us towards the patent , which was filed in May 2010 and made public on November 10th of this year.  One goal of the patent is “making trust-building behaviors more actionable” – as in, eliminating behaviors that aren’t deemed good for the “organizational trust” of a company. Some cited examples of negative behavior include “nodding one's head in agreement, shaking one's head indicating disagreement, hand gestures, wearing dark glasses in a video conference, wearing unacceptable clothing to a business meeting, cutting off others during conversation and prolonged monologues.” Patterns that occur in specific situations and particular times can also be tracked, the patent claims.

No word on whether or not Microsoft continued working on the project after the filing, so your secret feelings may stay secret after all.

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