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AI Workplace Surveillance May Already be Monitoring Your Every Move

And your HR department isn't obliged to tell you.

HR departments up and down the country are installing secretive AI software that enables them to not only monitor their staff, but even predict if a worker is likely to break a rule, even before they've actually done it tech experts are now revealing.

Significant American corporations, like Walmart, Delta Air Lines, T-Mobile, Chevron, and Starbucks, have reportedly enlisted the services of the Ohio-based tech startup, Aware. This firm uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze employee communications through popular apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, and can combine that communication data with HR records, and facial recognition cameras.

Known insights about a company’s staff that were previously gained through annual or twice-per-year surveys have been replaced by ongoing monitoring of employee messages via AI. Jeff Schumann, co-founder and CEO of Aware, claimed to CNBC, the purpose is to 'help businesses' “understand the risk within their communications”.

He suggests companies gain an understanding of employee sentiment towards any new corporate initiatives or marketing campaigns, whilst it can also detect HR code violations, potential violations, or simpler things like stealing, and all in real-time.

The AI models developed by Aware are designed to scrutinize text and interpret images, supposedly identifying potential issues such as bullying, harassment, discrimination, or even general “toxicity.”

However, the company’s surveillance does not stop there. The analytics tool also monitors the overall mood of the workforce. The use of these surveillance tools has reportedly been adopted by brands beyond the United States, including European companies such as Nestle and AstraZeneca. Approximately 80% of Aware’s operation involves aiding firms in governance risk and compliance, according to Schumann. However, the software is coming down in price all the time and will soon be in the reach of medium and small businesses.

Companies do not have any legal obligation to inform employees of the tech, the first time you are made aware of it is when HR comes calling.

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