Thank you for sharing, John! My uncle drives trucks and it always made me sad when I learned about the tricks of the trade for helping yourself stay awake during long hours on the road (one trick is to tickle the top of your mouth with your tongue). Though the invasion of privacy of SmartCap does seem more severe than the ELD technology given the introduction of biometrics, I do think it is the more responsible option in this case. The initial intent of the ELDs was to make sure drivers were taking the proper amount of rest in order to adhere to proper levels of safety. We also saw from drivers like Trevor that this can backfire, putting that very safety on the line. With SmartCap, we get right to the initial intent of putting any measure in place- to make sure the driver is alert and rested enough to drive safely. It reminds me of ignition interlock devices that prevent a driver from starting their car depending on what they blow into a built-in breathalyzer. What I find interesting is the question of how to act on SmartCap data. If the SmartCap detects a driver too sleepy to drive, what should happen? Should the truck not start? What if a driver changes from being alert to sleepy while driving? Should an alarm sound urging the driver to pull over? Or should it be up to the driver to change their behavior based on SmartCap readings, and just be subjected to fines if they drive while below a certain alertness level?
Thank you for sharing this! I agree with your sounding of the alarm here. I believe the proposition of allowing organizations to better support benefits like maternity leave is too weak of an argument against the potential for exacerbation of existing gender and age biases. Technology, especially when used by HR, surrounding female reproductive health encourages a narrow view of what it actually means to start a family today. Focusing on this kind of data can distract from supporting employees who might be using options like adoption or surrogacy. I also fear that making this sort of data tracking commonplace in the workplace will make for taking steps backward for gender equality by reducing female employees to their reproductive organs. Women are not just pairs of ovaries to be managed.
As a lover of and devotee to all things comedy, I agree- humor IS a serious matter! It brings people together in times of stress or division, it provides people with hope and relief, and it humanizes those who use it. Even during times of crisis, when used effectively, humor sets a helpful tone and focus for what we need to be worried about versus what we can not take so seriously (like ourselves). I also agree with your urging of caution in how to use this data. If the presence of this data were to push people in the workplace to deliberately try to be funnier, I suspect this would backfire. I think what is more pertinent is the evidence surrounding the fact that simply the presence of humor in the workplace makes for better culture and more effective leadership. Instead of taking this information and aiming to hit a certain joke quota in emails and presentations, I urge organizations to make room for moments of comedic relief (employee contests, meme of the week, talent shows, etc) and to celebrate humor when it arises organically.