Today in news that is not creepy at all, a company called CourseSmart has developed software for e-books that will tell, say, a college professor exactly how much of a book a student has read, how long you read each page, how many notes you took, and how “engaged” you were.
The college students among us are already cringing, but graduates with jobs should be just as scared, because tech like this in the workplace is only a matter of time.
The main problem here is that whole “engagement” thing. Supposedly the idea is that people who just skim the reading get busted, because it’s so hard to swipe a page every minute or so while doing something else. There’s no actual way to measure how engaged somebody is by reading. It’s not liking giving a crap can be quantified, unless you install a scale in a toilet.
But, as anybody with an office job can tell you, B.S. metrics are the one true love of accountants and managers across the world. And now that ereaders are cheap, I guarantee you there is somebody at your office, right now, figuring out a way to make sure all those reports with just the one nugget of information that you need has this software. Because you need to read that report. All of it. And they’re setting “engagement targets” to make sure you read it, because, as you’ve always suspected, they hate the entire world and want it to bleed.
Is it too late to go back to dead trees?
New E-Textbooks Will Tattle To Professors About Students’ Reading Habits [Popular Science]