Friday Focus: Chip-ping away at my newfound confidence

PUBLISHED: 08:06 27 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:39 28 May 2010

The wonders of hi-tech never cease to amaze and baffle me. But despite my well-known Luddite tendencies, I reckon I could have claimed to have come to terms with the computer and all it can do for me . . . until this week. Now I m less certain; largely b

The wonders of hi-tech never cease to amaze and baffle me. But despite my well-known Luddite tendencies, I reckon I could have claimed to have come to terms with the computer and all it can do for me . . . until this week.

Now I'm less certain; largely because of a new invention which will allow the computer to tell if the user is angry or happy.

All the press publicity I've read insists that it really works, and the implication is that it can make for a happier work environment by identifying stressful employees and nipping the problem in the bud.

The equipment is still at the design stage, so at present the user wears a special glove to measure hand temperature and the skin's electrical resistance. Heartbeat is measured by a monitor strapped to the chest. This, I am assured, will be developed into something a bit more sophisticated.

Signals are picked up by a sensitive mouse and then the computer will . . . do what? Show silly faces to make you happier? Re-schedule tasks, so difficult or important ones are left until you are in a better mood?

This all suggests an office looking like a set for a 1950s horror movie, with staff not knowing their mental state until they are told by Big Brother.

I've often speculated about the waste of money on some avenues of research. This particularly daft journey is being taken by the Germans, who are not known for their sense of humour. So, presumably, they're serious. I can't see any sensible company or person wasting money on such nonsense. But I'm an acknowledged Luddite - so watch this space.

was surprised that representatives of Suffolk Police reckon there will be far fewer officers on the streets if they are forced by the Government into a merger with neighbouring forces.

The view is that the merger, which could well be with our own Cambridgeshire force, would result in staff support jobs being axed, forcing officers back into their stations as desk jockeys.

This does not seem to be a particularly well-thought-out argument against the merger. Whatever one thinks about the merger plans , this is surely no way to galvanise public support.

Fewer officers on the streets? No-one will notice.

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