Friday, November 22, 2013

The Annual Shining Star Exam

Here's an interesting article over at The Atlantic. Computer games have the potential to help determine if you're the right person for the job, assess your potential for promotion, or if you're truly a shining star.

Consider Knack, a tiny start-up based in Silicon Valley. Knack makes app-based video games, among them Dungeon Scrawl, a quest game requiring the player to navigate a maze and solve puzzles, and Wasabi Waiter, which involves delivering the right sushi to the right customer at an increasingly crowded happy hour. These games aren’t just for play: they’ve been designed by a team of neuroscientists, psychologists, and data scientists to suss out human potential. Play one of them for just 20 minutes, says Guy Halfteck, Knack’s founder, and you’ll generate several megabytes of data, exponentially more than what’s collected by the SAT or a personality test. How long you hesitate before taking every action, the sequence of actions you take, how you solve problems—all of these factors and many more are logged as you play, and then are used to analyze your creativity, your persistence, your capacity to learn quickly from mistakes, your ability to prioritize, and even your social intelligence and personality. The end result, Halfteck says, is a high-resolution portrait of your psyche and intellect, and an assessment of your potential as a leader or an innovator. 

It's not necessarily all bad in that it can remove biases from the equation. But still, I wonder if someone who didn't score very well could learn to do better and improve their score over time. And would it be easier to determine when an employee is just one step away from their level of incompetence?

1 comment:

Joy Stick said...

I had a job interview where they had me write a paper from scratch, without telling me they were remotely observing me write it. I figured out the scam and started writing about the ethics of surveillance in job interviews given the power imbalance. The HR person rushed in and said time was up.

At another job I had an interactive webinar about some nebulous topic, but which began to sneak in questions recognizably from the Myers-Briggs. I gamed it.

All this behavioral-based HR crap just raises the level of manipulation on both sides.

Worse, passing personal data to third parties with a financial stake is simply exploitation of the vulnerable. Some obstensibly hiring corporations are actually just using the process to sell targeted marketing data.

I suspect this new app is mostly gamers' revenge, though. Suddenly all that time in ersatz worlds like Grand Theft Auto provides marketable skills. If you can murder a virtual prostitute and drive over a baby carriage, you are certainly qualified for most corporate jobs.