News From Telecom World

‘All office meetings will be recorded’- is it good or bad?

Posted on: January 27, 2009

Suppose every utterance and facial expression at a meeting were routinely captured and archived in high-definition digital video recordings – searchable and available in perpetuity. Would this be a godsend or a nightmare? The answer is probably HBR List 2009 logoboth, but we’re about to findout for sure. Within a few years, a synthesis of technologies from an array of companies will make possible a “total recall system,” or TRS, that can produce such recordings.

Let’s say you miss an important meeting. Instead of having to piece it together from the contradictory accounts of those who were there, you will be able to log in to your company’s TRS and search a recording of the meeting for the stuff you really care about. Or maybe you’d like to revisit discussions that stretched over a series of meetings and led to an important decision for which you are partly accountable. All the deliberations along the way – advocacy, misgivings, evolving positions – are there for your review. Of course, if the decision turns out to have been a bad one, the record will likewise be there to vindicate or implicate dissenters and promoters alike.

Indeed, TRS is a double-edged sword. A silly suggestion made in a brainstorming meeting might end up on YouTube, Yahoo Video, or MSN Video. Every thoughtless or sarcastic comment could potentially come back to haunt its maker in an HR inquiry or a lawsuit. Recorded content would be discoverable, potentially increasing the already staggering costs and complexity of litigation. Clearly, digital-rights protections that prevent the unauthorized from accessing these records will be hugely important. On the other hand, companies could use the recordings to defend themselves in court. And software programs will be able to dig through the recordings to identify people’s expertise and network ties, making it possible to find everyone who has mentioned a subject of interest, on what occasion, and to whom.

The next frontier is technology that can recognize faces and interpret gestures and expressions. (Does John Doe always twitch when he makes commitments he doesn’t keep?) These capabilities should be available in a decade. Yes, Big Brother may ultimately capture everything we say and do at a meeting, with consequences both good and bad.

Source: HBR


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