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双语:你的键盘,其实是 老板监视你的工具

你的键盘,其实是 老板监视你的工具










The workplace of the future



本文选自 The Economist | 取经号原创翻译

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ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) is barging its way into business. As our special report this week explains, firms of all types are harnessing AI to forecast demand, hire workers and deal with customers. In 2017 companies spent around $22bn on AI-related mergers and acquisitions, about 26 times more than in 2015. The McKinsey Global Institute, a think-tank within a consultancy, reckons that just applying AI to marketing, sales and supply chains could create economic value, including profits and efficiencies, of $2.7trn over the next 20 years. Google’s boss has gone so far as to declare that AI will do more for humanity than fire or electricity.

人工智能(AI)正在进军商业领域,本周的 特别报道已经指出,所有公司都在利用AI预估公司需求、招聘员工、和顾客沟通。2017年,各大企业在AI并购方 面的投入金额高达220亿美元,比2015年增长了25倍。咨询业 智库麦肯锡全球研究院认为,在未来二十年里, 将AI应用于市场营销、产品销 售和供应链可以增加企业利润,提高企业效率,创造2.7万亿美元的经济价值。Google总裁甚至已放言AI对人类 的贡献将超过火和电力。


Such grandiose forecasts kindle anxiety as well as hope. Many fret that AI could destroy jobs faster than it creates them. Barriers to entry from owning and generating data could lead to a handful of dominant firms in every industry.

这番浮言虚论除了给我们带来希望,也引发了焦虑,许多人担心AI在创造 更多岗位的同时会毁掉更多的工作岗位。发展AI需要掌 握并生成大量数据,门槛奇高,因此各 个行业内都会存在几个巨头公司。

grandiose /ˈɡrændiəʊs/ adj (usu derog 通常作贬义) planned on a large scale; (intended to seem) imposing 庞大的; 浮夸的


Less familiar, but just as important, is how AI will transform the workplace. Using AI, managers can gain extraordinary control over their employees. Amazon has patented a wristband that tracks the hand movements of warehouseworkers and uses vibrations to nudge them into being more efficient. Workday, a software firm, crunches around 60 factors to predict which employees will leave. Humanyze, a startup, sells smart ID badges that can track employees around the office and reveal how well they interact with colleagues.

一个陌 生而又同样重要的话题,是AI将怎样 改造我们的办公区域。利用AI技术,管理层 能够将员工管得死死的。亚马逊 已经获得了一款腕带的专利权,这款腕带可以追踪仓库工人的手部运动,并利用 震动来督促他们提高工作效率。软件公司Workday通过衡量 60项指标 来预测不同员工的离职率。还有一家名为Humanyze的初创 公司利用智能身份徽章来追踪 员工在工作场所的行为,并分析 同事关系是否融洽。


Surveillance at work is nothing new. Factory workers have long clocked in and out; bosses can already see what idle workers do on their computers. But AI makes ubiquitous surveillance worthwhile, because every bit of data is potentially valuable. Few laws govern how data are collected at work, and many employees unguardedly consent to surveillance when they sign their employment contract. Where does all this lead?

对工作场所进行监控早就存在:工厂工人上下班打卡;上司通过电脑监视偷懒的员工。但全方位监控有AI技术加 持才真正凸显出价值,每一节 数据变得价值非凡。不过,几乎没 有法律对收集工作场所的数据进行规定,员工们 在签订劳动合同时,完全没 有注意到合同中包含的监管条款。这会造成什么影响呢?

ubiquitous / juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/ adj [esp attrib 尤作定语] (fml or joc 文或谑) (seeming to be) present everywhere or in several places at the same time (似乎)普遍存在的, 无处不有的


Trust and telescreens



Start with the benefits. AI ought to improve productivity. Humanyze merges data from its badges with employees’ calendars and e-mails to work out, say, whether office layouts favour teamwork. Slack, a workplace messaging app, helps managers assess how quickly employees accomplish tasks. Companies will see when workers are not just dozing off but also misbehaving. They are starting to use AI to screen for anomalies in expense claims, flagging receipts from odd hours of the night more efficiently than a carbon-based beancounter can.

先从优点说起,AI技术会提高生产力,Humanyze会整合 分析智能徽章上的数据、员工的日程表和邮件,由此计 算出办公室布局是否有利于团队合作;一款名为Slack的办公 通信软件能帮助管理者分析员工的工作效率。不论是 在工作时间偷懒,还是违反企业规章,公司都能检测到。许多公司还利用AI技术筛查异常报销,以及标 记在晚上非工作时间上报的收据,效率远超会计人员。

注:flag:to put a special mark against a piece of writing or an email to show that it is important. 通过在 纸条或邮件中做特殊标记,以显示重要内容。关于财务的工作性质,报销的支出越少,公司成本越低,所以对出纳来说,异常的 报销就是她们重点关注的内容。


Employees will gain, too. Thanks to strides in computer vision, AI can check that workers are wearing safety gear and that no one has been harmed on the factory floor. Some will appreciate more feedback on their work and welcome a sense of how to do better. Cogito, a startup, has designed AI-enhanced software that listens to customer-service calls and assigns an “empathy score” based on how compassionate agents are and how fast and how capably they settle complaints.

当然,员工也能获益。随着监 控图像质量的大幅度提升,AI可以监 控工厂工人是否佩戴了安全设备,以防意外发生。有些人 比较重视在工作中得到更多的反馈,也愿意 接受改善工作绩效的意见。初创公司Cogito设计了一款AI辅助的 软件来监听客服通话,根据客 服的同理心程度以及解决问题的速度和能力,给他们评“同理心得分”。


Machines can help ensure that pay rises and promotions go to those who deserve them. That starts with hiring. People often have biases but algorithms, if designed correctly, can be more impartial. Software can flag patterns that people might miss. Textio, a startup that uses AI to improve job descriptions, has found that women are likelier to respond to a job that mentions “developing” a team rather than “managing” one. Algorithms will pick up differences in pay between genders and races, as well as sexual harassment and racism that human managers consciously or unconsciously overlook.

AI技术可 确保只有能者才可获得加薪和晋升的机会。在招聘环节,面试官 难免会抱有偏见,但是设计合理的算法对待应 聘者就相对更加公正。AI还可以 观察到普通人可能会忽略的规律。初创公司Textio利用AI技术来 完善招聘广告中的工作职责说明,他们发 现相比起负责管理一个团队,女性对 帮助团队成长的角色更有兴趣。算法会 发现不同性别和种族之间的薪酬差异,以及性 骚扰和种族主义等管理层有意无意忽视的问题。


Yet AI’s benefits will come with many potential drawbacks. Algorithms may not be free of the biases of their programmers. They can also have unintended consequences. The length of a commute may predict whether an employee will quit a job, but this focus may inadvertently harm poorer applicants. Older staff might work more slowly than younger ones and could risk losing their positions if all AI looks for is productivity.

然而,AI使人受益的同时,也有许多潜在的缺点。算法难 免会受程序员的影响。也有可 能造成意外的后果,比如通 过通勤时间的长短可以预测员工离职的概率,但是经 济条件不太行的员工却会意外中枪。此外,相比于年轻员工,老员工效率较低,如果AI将生产 力作为衡量员工的唯一标准,那么他 们很可能会失业。


And surveillance may feel Orwellian—a sensitive matter now that people have begun to question how much Facebook and other tech giants know about their private lives. Companies are starting to monitor how much time employees spend on breaks. Veriato, a software firm, goes so far as to track and log every keystroke employees make on their computers in order to gauge how committed they are to their company. Firms can use AI to sift through not just employees’ professional communications but their social-media profiles, too. The clue is in Slack’s name, which stands for “searchable log of all conversation and knowledge”.

无处不 在的监视像极了奥威尔笔下的世界,现在人们都对Facebook以及其 他科技巨头掌握了自己多少隐私数据分外敏感。公司开 始监视员工工作间休息的时长,软件公司Veriato做到了极致:监控、记录员 工每一次键盘的敲击,以此来 衡量对公司的忠诚度。AI不仅可 以审查员工的工作通讯,连员工 的社交账号也知根知底。从Slack公司的 名字便可见一斑,Slack是searchable log of all conversation and knowledge的首字母缩写,意为对话和知识,尽在掌握。

注:乔治·奥威尔(1903年6月25日-1950年1月21日),英国著名小说家、记者和社会评论家,代表作《动物庄园》和《1984》。他以先 知般冷峻的笔调勾画出人类阴暗的未来,令读者心中震颤。他将悲喜剧融为一体,使作品 具有极大的张力。奥威尔 的卓异之处就在于,并非仅 仅用小说来影射个别的人与政权,而是直 接揭露语言的堕落。在奥威尔眼里,语言是 掩盖真实的幕布,粉饰现实的工具,蛊惑民心的艺术。他坚信,”在一个 语言堕落的时代,作家必 须保持自己的独立性,在抵抗 暴力和承担苦难的意义上做一个永远的抗议者。” 他因作 品中的深刻思想,被称为”一代人的冷峻良知”。有评论家如此说:”多一个人看奥威尔,就多了 一份自由的保障”。

《1984》是乔治·奥威尔于20世纪40年代末(1949年出版)所著小说。此书是 经典的反乌托邦小说。这部小 说与英国作家赫胥黎著作的《美丽新世界》,以及俄 国作家扎米亚京著作的《我们》并称反 乌托邦的三部代表作。奥威尔 刻划了一个令人感到窒息和恐怖的,以追逐 权力为最终目标的假想的极权主义社会,通过对 这个社会中一个普通人生活的细致刻画,揭示了 任何形式下的极权主义必将导致人民甚至整个国家成为悲剧。


Tracking the trackers



Some people are better placed than others to stop employers going too far. If your skills are in demand, you are more likely to be able to resist than if you are easy to replace. Paid-by-the-hour workers in low-wage industries such as retailing will be especially vulnerable. That could fuel a resurgence of labour unions seeking to represent employees’ interests and to set norms. Even then, the choice in some jobs will be between being replaced by a robot or being treated like one.

在反对过度监管方面,有些人更有话语权。只要具 备公司所需的技能,自然会 比可替代性强的人更能保住自己的职位。首当其 中的是零售业等低薪行业,那些按 时计费的员工就属于弱势群体。这可能会促使工会重掌话语权,要求捍卫劳动者利益,设立新的标准。但尽管如此,在有些岗位上,劳动者 要么被机器取代,要么被 当成机器人看待。

resurgence / rɪˈsɜːdʒəns / N-SING If there is a resurgence of an attitude or activity, it reappears and grows. 复苏


As regulators and employers weigh the pros and cons of AI in the workplace, three principles ought to guide its spread. First, data should be anonymised where possible. Microsoft, for example, has a product that shows individuals how they manage their time in the office, but gives managers information only in aggregated form. Second, the use of AI ought to be transparent. Employees should be told what technologies are being used in their workplaces and which data are being gathered. As a matter of routine, algorithms used by firms to hire, fire and promote should be tested for bias and unintended consequences. Last, countries should let individuals request their own data, whether they are ex-workers wishing to contest a dismissal or jobseekers hoping to demonstrate their ability to prospective employers.

当监管 机构或者雇主在权衡工作场所使用AI的利弊时,应该遵 循以下三条原则。首先,数据尽可能匿名化。比如,微软推 出了一款可以显示员工工作时间安排的软件,但是呈 现在管理层面前的却只有数据汇总后的表格。其次,AI技术使用透明化。公司应 该告知员工工作场所内使用了哪些技术以及公司收集了哪些数据。一般来说,公司利用AI技术来招聘、开除、提拔员工,都需提前对其测试,以免算法中带有偏见,或者造 成某些意外的结果。第三,数据公开化。不论是 前雇员想对解聘进行申诉,还是求 职者希望在应聘单位面前自我展示,国家都 应当允许他们提取所需的数据。


The march of AI into the workplace calls for trade-offs between privacy and performance. A fairer, more productive workforce is a prize worth having, but not if it shackles and dehumanises employees. Striking a balance will require thought, a willingness for both employers and employees to adapt, and a strong dose of humanity.

工作场 所智能化需要在员工隐私和公司效益之间达到平衡。更加公 平和高效的办公环境固然值得期待,但不应该因此束缚、压制员工。要达到这种平衡,不仅需 要我们深谋远虑,需要雇 主和雇员都应主动适应新环境,更需要 我们持有强烈的人文关怀。

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