Privacy and "Big Brother" Concerns


Address workers' concerns about AI by clarifying misconceptions, focusing on collective responsibility, using reward-based incentives for safety, and maintaining a lenient, appreciative approach towards team members.

It is reasonable for workers to have concerns about privacy when introducing artificial intelligence in the workplace. Many common fears about AI come down to simple misunderstandings about how the technology works.

AI is not all-powerful or all-knowing. “AI” is just software that trains computers to “learn” tasks without being given specific instructions. Voxel is a narrow application of AI called “computer vision.” It teaches computers how to recognize objects in a video. The more videos Voxel “studies,” the more accurate it becomes at identifying objects, and the more objects it is able to identify over time. Voxel’s computer vision model is restricted to safety & operations. Voxel only knows about workplace safety and industrial operations—nothing else.

Voxel cannot recognize faces and it cannot identify any human being in a video. It can only look at a video and make an educated guess: is this environment safe from hazards? Is everybody in this scene following best safety practices?

A good way to ease concerns about a “Big Brother” in the work environment is to avoid singling out employees as much as possible. Try to use incident videos from Voxel to teach your team as a group and encourage a culture of shared responsibility. If everyone is on the same page, they’ll hold each other accountable. 

Make a point of rewarding good safety behavior consistently and frequently. Over time, the collective mindset around safety will start to change. As safety incidents decline, you will notice a marked improvement in morale and sentiment in the workplace.

Be lenient with your team members. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being “watched.” Emphasize that your goal is to send everybody home safe at the end of the day. No site leader wants to fire somebody on their team—the truth is, it’s hard enough to find good people to come to work. Take every opportunity to tell your team members that they are appreciated. It’s always good to remind your associates: “I need you to stay healthy for the sake of the team.”

Major 🔑s:

  • Clarify misconceptions: “AI” is not “intelligent.” It’s just a way to teach computers how to “see” stuff in the camera feed.

  • No facial recognition: Voxel does not recognize faces and it does not identify workers, to encourage team-building and group coaching.
  • Avoid singling out: focus on coaching your employees as a group to remind them that safety is a shared responsibility. If everyone is on the same page, they’ll hold each other accountable. 
  • Combine Voxel with rewards: concurrent with your roll-out, introduce a new safety reward program to show your commitment to a positive safety culture.
  • Be lenient: remind your team that they are appreciated. It goes a long way.