(The Setup: One of the Ziff-Davis magazine writers used his column to paint a bleak picture of how vile the working environment would be in 2013 (ten years from the date of publication). Of course, Big Brother would be watching, everybody would be in constant fear for their job, and technology would be tracking our every move. Based on my own experiences in the last ten years, here's the answer I posted:)
Naturally, the Chicken Littles will be up in arms about the horrid concept that somebody might actually be watching them while they surf porn and goof off. This is naturally nonsense, because ten years ago, we all thought we'd be wearing helmets that would read our brainwaves and that keyboards and mice would be a thing of the past. 'Taint happened yet, and probably won't, because if it doesn't show a Return On Investment, it won't get implemented. Given a choice between invasive sensors and a much-needed hardware upgrade, the upgrade wins every time. Here's what will really happen in 2013:
The Future Worker arrives to work at 10:05 on his motorcycle, because it helps him dodge the choking traffic that's only just beginning to thin at 10. Tailgating past the entry door on somebody coming back in from the Oxygen Bar downstairs, he slides his PDA/cellphone/tablet computer off his belt and into the docking station built into the 2x3 foot cubicle in his section of the 'rabbit warren' (despite ten years of progress, the battery still won't last more than 24 hours). Smiling, he taps the RF badge he leaves clipped to the edge of his display for good luck, and signs into the company network.
Being the Security Officer for this branch, he brings up the list of websites visited in the last 24 hours. Ah, looks like Clarissa in Marketing got a good deal on that hiptop computer she bought from the auction site, and looks like Jeff in Engineering has found another amazing anime site to add to the list to check out later. Good, no intrusions, no anomolies. Click the OK button, which sends a report stating same to the Big Boss, where it will be automatically routed to his "Check (Much) Later" folder.
Needing to visit the can, our hero steps to the door, which has been blocked open with a trash can. He goes to relieve himself, and then steps back through the open door, reminding himself he has to fix that one of these days. Back at his desk, he begins the process of evaluating the latest 'active response firewall,' which traces back and hacks into attackers' systems, rendering them harmless in the process. That should make his job easier, he muses, as he uses the eye-tracking cursor control built into his control/phone headset to prepare his purchase recommendation to management. A good morning's work done, he heads off to lunch with Clarissa so he can ask if he can see the hiptop when it arrives.
Sound far-fetched? Trust me, save for the near-future technology, it's not far from what I was doing ten years ago, and what I'm doing today. Despite fears to the contrary, the sky is not falling, and personal liberties are limited only by laws. Choose your congressional representatives carefully, and the sky won't have an opportunity to fall.