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Work

" I think that computers today allow us one last opportunity to provide something like a level playingfield in America."
- William Gibson

Workplace Distancing  
  A computer application that arranges that workers never encounter each other, to reduce gossiping and wasted time.  

Manna - a concept the time for which has come.

I can remember sitting down one day with my friend Brian at lunch. He was working at the giant discount supercenter in Raleigh, and they had just switched over to Manna. He was stunned.

"It doesn't matter if you are a hard worker or a slacker -- once you put on the headset, you are going to be working every minute of the day or you are gone. The system has already fired five people."

"What's it have you do all day?" There were something like 50 people working in the supercenter at any given time -- it was a 200,000 square foot store.

"Manna has you moving through the store aisle by aisle. I bet I am walking six or eight miles a day right now. I am constantly straightening merchandise on the shelves. Manna knows where I am, and it knows where everything is on the shelves, so it asks me item by item to straighten them.

Manna is telling you exactly what to do every second of every day. If it asks you to go to the back and get merchandise, it tells you exactly where to walk to go get it. And here is the weirdest part -- I never see another employee the entire day. The way it makes me walk, I never run into anyone else. I can go for a full shift and never see another employee. Even our breaks are staggered. Everyone takes their breaks alone. We all arrive at staggered times. It's like Manna is trying to totally eliminate human interaction on the job."

"That's spooky. Why would it do that?" I asked.

Brian looked down, "I'm guessing that talking with co-workers wastes time, and Manna is eliminating the waste everywhere it can."

From Manna, by Marshall Brain.
Published by Self in 2002
Additional resources -

Social distancing? Easy, the computer way.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Manna
  More Ideas and Technology by Marshall Brain
  Tech news articles related to Manna
  Tech news articles related to works by Marshall Brain

Workplace Distancing-related news articles:
  - Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing

Articles related to Work
Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing
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