New software developed for Microsoft’s workplace social network, Yammer, can gauge the emotions of employees using the network by analyzing the messages they sent through it. Once the software is activated on a company’s Yammer network, “it offers managers a view of the ‘trending emotions’ within a company, using a line graph to show the level of excitement, confusion, and other feelings over time.” The software can currently identify 80 different emotions but reduces its report to 15, showing only the most prevalent emotions to reduce the complexity of the interface.
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What’s the Big Idea?
While the software prevents users from tracing emotional states back to specific employees, the unsettling notion that your computer is combing through your feelings may pose problems for companies looking to use Yammer. In principle, the new tool is intended to “help managers stay abreast of morale and monitor the reaction to important changes such as a corporate restructuring or a product launch.” While the technology currently struggles to identify humorous or sarcastic messages as such, developers are working on a new version which will “send an alert if expression of a particular emotion suddenly increases or decreases.”