Exploring the potential downsides of a connected device intended to monitor job candidates' motivation to do work.



We wanted to explore what happens when attempts to disrupt the classical interview process cause people to become connected with employers beyond traditional limits.  In search of an easy way to cultivate and evaluate candidates for jobs, Pineapple Inc., a prestigious company, has developed a chip to monitor candidates' willingness to work. The device is passing information about the assigned tasks and their completion to the employer, as well as monitoring proximity to the computer and providing feedback to the user.  

As Internet of Things devices become more ingrained in our culture, the idea of connecting more systems (or people) and passing information presents a potential privacy concern, as well as a source of social awkwardness to those who do not use or enjoy the devices.  This is especially true of any kind of connected device whose use cannot easily be "rejected."  What starts out as an easy way to secure employment at a top company eventually disrupts the user's work-life balance.  As described in the "Context" section, we felt that this is a scenario that may become a reality, and we wanted to highlight the potential downside of such a device.



In recent years, various companies have begun exploring the utility of implanting chips in workers. Functionality typically includes access to various parts of the building, or entry to the facility as a whole (https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2017/07/24/wisconsin-company-install-rice-sized-microchips-employees/503867001/).  These chips are also starting to see applications in making payments or transferring medical information.  In addition, competition for prestigious jobs has increased due the volume of the applicant pool, and yet, most companies have not updated their hiring processes to take advantage of new technology.  We predict that as prestigious companies grow larger and larger, they will seek ways to attract further talent more efficiently.  At the same time, prospective candidates, who are already competing for the company's attention through networking will continue to look for ways to reliably obtain their dream jobs.  Given that the chips are slowly starting to see use, we predict that more employers will begin to use them within the next 10 years, and using them to attract future employees is a step after that.



The biggest challenge for this project was not the implementation of the final concept itself. Rather, it was during the ideation at the beginning. We had a hard time coming up with an idea that is good and useful with a danger or dark component at the same time. In addition, it was quite tempting to think ahead of a product for the very far future and also ideas that can be easily implemented. We started with smart cars and ethical dilemmas, digital twins, and smart security cameras as potential ideas, until we ended with the "hiring chip."  The reason we ended up deciding on this is that we believe that it is both useful to whoever is going to use it and to other party (companies/recruiters in our case). At the same time, a product like that has a very dangerous and dark potential when it gets out of control.



In order to make the concept video, we created a detailed storyboard illustrating the plot and how our product plays a role in a student's life. The storyboard includes explanations of how the scenes should be set up, characters, transitions, and emotions. Creating a storyboard helped us to keep track of the filming session as well as to have an established user scenario.



Our final product is called "Pineapple Chip", made by an imaginary company called Pineapple Inc. The chip monitors a user's daily activity and calculates what percentage of time the user has spent on work versus other activities. Compared with traditional recruiting procedures, which involve resume screening, grade checking, and interviewing, our solution solves the problem of candidates hiding their true work enthusiasm and only talking about their positive experiences. With the Pineapple chip, the company can monitor candidates on a daily basis and learn their true effort.

We had a debate of whether to implementing our design concept on a smartwatch or a chip. Although smart watch is indeed closer to the reality, there are multiple ways to bypass the monitoring activities based on a smartwatch. For example, users can let other people wear it. Hence, we chose a chip implanted in the user's wrist to be our final design. It might not happen in 5 years, but will certainly happen in the foreseeable future.



Our team has learned how IoT devices can create behavior changes and impact social lives of individuals. They have the power to lead individuals towards positive behaviors; however, this might result in catastrophic social consequences such as alienation from society and/or feeling overwhelmed in work-life situations, especially if these devices are promoted by evil corporations. This results in negative impact on work-life balance and causes individuals difficulty in terms of social development. The corporate chip in our concept kills the human side of today’s interactions and is something that is personal and that forms a big concern for implementing IoT in combination with work and everyday life. 



Microchip (2x4 mm) inserted under the skin

Continuous GPS tracking

Lights up to indicate tasks

Continuous productivity tracking

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49713 Designing for the Internet of Things

· 25 members

A hands-on introductory course exploring the Internet of Things and connected product experiences.


Exploring the potential downsides of a connected device intended to monitor job candidates' motivation to do work.


February 19th, 2018