Resistance is futile: Chinese workers assimilated by The Borg


Workers outfitted in uniforms staff lines producing sophisticated equipment for telecommunication and other industrial sectors.

But there’s one big difference – the workers wear caps to monitor their brainwaves, data that management then uses to adjust the pace of production and redesign workflows, according to the company.

The company said it could increase the overall efficiency of the workers by manipulating the frequency and length of break times to reduce mental stress.

Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric is just one example of the large-scale application of brain surveillance devices to monitor people’s emotions and other mental activities in the workplace, according to scientists and companies involved in the government-backed projects.

Concealed in regular safety helmets or uniform hats, these lightweight, wireless sensors constantly monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and stream the data to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage.

The devices can be fitted into the cap of a train driver. Photo: Deayea Technology
The technology is in widespread use around the world but China has applied it on an unprecedented scale in factories, public transport, state-owned companies and the military to increase the competitiveness of its manufacturing industry and to maintain social stability.

It has also raised concerns about the need for regulation to prevent abuses in the workplace.

The technology is also in use at in Hangzhou at State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power, where it has boosted company profits by about 2 billion yuan (US$315 million) since it was rolled out in 2014, according to Cheng Jingzhou, an official overseeing the company’s emotional surveillance programme.

“There is no doubt about its effect,” Cheng said.

We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.


  1. World’s cleverest placebo. Workers probably believe their brainwaves really are being monitored. Behaviour self-censors. It’s the Chinese authorities’ preferred way. Genius.

    • This is a BS story.

      The current state of brainwave monitoring is nowhere near as advanced as claimed. Functional MRI is the state of the art, beating EEG monitors, and it can be fooled by a dead salmon.

      The only effect is as a placebo.

    • Cheap too! Who’s to say you can’t just generate whìte noise and then feed it through, backwards looking for sàtanìc messages with an ‘AI’?

      Kinda like those wand explosive detectors from back in the Iraq War II.

      I can haz Profit nao?

    • God dammit … caught by the whïte noise… well done ßpamböt!

      Cheap too! Who’s to say you can’t just generate whïte noise and then feed it through, backwards looking for sàtanìc messages with an ‘AI’?

      Kinda like those wand explosive detectors from back in the Iraq War II.

      I can haz Profit nao?

  2. GunnamattaMEMBER

    China is not going to just going to volunteer for the middle income trap.

    Does anyone in their right mind think that China is a hope in hell of avoiding the mother of all middle income traps – and bringing another billion people to roughly middle developed world incomes and qualities of life – without exporting even more profound deflation to the rest of the world [and generating a backlash] while re-educating the non Han section of its society into accepting they would be last on that pull from poverty, and fending off an India looking to extricate itself from its own middle income trap? (and before we get to anywhere in Africa or Latin America looking to do likewise [at the risk of sounding a tad Malthusian]).

    That dynamic alone is why exporting meaningful jobs and replacing them with bullshido jobs funded by debt – in the most heavily privately indebted people on the planet – backstopped by a population Ponzi is simply an exercise by Australia’s ‘elite’ to economic extinction (as distinguished from maybe a bauble for the mantelpiece of some nation doing something meaningful)

    This is why the Torynuffs have been so keen to wipe out manufacturing – with the wiping out of concentrations of capital this entails – and so keen to run the population Ponzi full bore.  Eliminating manufacturing (and capital concentrations reliant on skilled labour) wipes out the meaningful scope for labour to do anything about what is unfolding – particularly given the labour deflation being exported by China India and elsewhere, the population Ponzi will cement the non elite class of professionals into income poverty.  The elite class of professionals (the medical professions, some higher tech, and the coterie groups of lawyers accountants, uber private schools and global corporatocracy management set) will get first dibs on the budget redistribution from the only thing Australia does do to generate income (mining mainly, and only when there is demand for the product), and everyone else can have some sort of life eking out existence beyond mainstream society (see the US – which has a far more competitive exposed sector).  

    ……..and then they can wire everyone up.

    • Maybe your desired ‘Egalitarianism’ isn’t a natural human trait.

      After all where does Democratic freedom, individualism, equal rights, collectivist benefit with no contribution, equals gender, age, skill opportunity etc exist outside of a very transient recent phase of human society?

      One could argue ‘egalitarianism’ is an aberration or weakness that denies and blunts DNA / species from forming the most effective structures in survival & reward for the fittest.

      A collective brutal elite, managing a collective dumb oppressed mass is the usual evolution in human society (politically and socially) and pretty much in every other form of living thing social structure.

      The trick in higher order life forms appears to be to keep the oppressed mass happy, busy and ignorant that any other possibility of social structure exists.

      We see this in China in the example, but also here.

    • **Your comment is awaiting moderation**

      Macrobusiness has deteriorated into quite random & erratic moderation comment blocking.

      Someone at MB needs to pay attention in managing the site, and check & clean up the key word blocking list.

      People only come here to read the comments.
      That’s all.
      Not the 3 day late regurgitated press clippings, or cut & past article post script observations.

      Just the reader comments & to respond to those.

      If you can’t post a comment or reply in simple plain English, then there is zero value in having this forum.

      It’s not fit for purpose and has no appeal.

      Re your comment Gunnamatta.
      4th attempt at a reply.
      Macrobusiness didn’t like the words
      Surveill ance
      Primit ive
      Augment ation
      Or who knows what 🙂

      Anyway- do you need surveill ance helmets?
      Seems very low tech and primi tive

      Wouldn’t their smartphone, an App and a small body bio metric sensor would suffice?

      Then you would have the persons brainwaves, bio metrics, mood / calories / exertion / location tracking / security access / plus video and audio monitoring & interaction – augmentati ion – eg gps, training & motivational support online, plus their entire social network traffic as well for analysis & intervention.

      And it can be interactive for both individuals and collective work groups. So the group as well as individual attitudes can be managed.

  3. Jumping jack flash

    The future is here! What a great idea if it works.
    I can see it now:
    Company pay review time, sometime in the not too distant future.
    A bright room with a single chair. A cover slides away from over a speaker in the wall.
    “Worker 11176a, your brainwave records indicate that your productivity has barely kept pace with the company average, therefore no payrise for you this year. Thank you”.
    Lights dim. Door opens. Cover slides back into place.