Smell Detection: Does Digital Scent Technology Pass the “Smell” Test? | Hacker Noon

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@michael-brooksMichael Brooks

Founder & CEO of goLance and the author of REMOTE iT!, a new Amazon best seller in Outsourcing.

It’s really exciting how the technology we use to do our work and make our lives easier just keeps getting better. I’m pleased that Siri and Alexa know me on a first-name basis. Amazon can often predict what program I want to watch, a book I’d like to read, or clothes I’d like to buy. Roomba has figured out just the right places to vacuum, and I simply have to pick up my iPhone and it can recognize me automatically. Now that’s great service!

But there’s a technology that was described by Steve Wozniack at a panel discussion in the Silicon Valley back in 2012 that I haven’t heard too much about lately. It literally stinks. I’m talking about smell detection. That’s right. At the time, he explained to an audience how future technology in mobile devices will watch our faces and expressions and how context matters. He also said he thinks that smell will eventually be important.

Dogs do a good job at smelling, but I think it will still take time for software to catch up and maximize the value of this capability if it’s ever used in the workplace to verify people or understand their emotional state. As the CEO of a company that screens, recruits, hires, and pays global freelancers and connects them with clients, I’m not sure when the industry will be ready to supplement things like worker verification software and management tools with smell detectors. 

Like many companies, we use time-tracking software to measure productivity, manage activities, pay our freelancers and do reporting. Old Fido might be able to reliably determine if you’re stressed at work by your rate of perspiration, but I just can’t imagine how my cell phone, tablet, or laptop could do that intuitively. For example, if you run a marathon or
eat spicy food, Fido can still recognize you, but will your electronic device have that capability? 

When Someone’s Digital Reputation Doesn’t Smell Right

So, while we’re waiting to see if smell can be one of the next big indicators of verifying people or understanding their behavior at work, we can at least feel confident that there are a lot of other tools in place to make sure people are who they say they are. 

If you’re looking to hire a worker, for example, check out a freelance marketplace platform that showcases their profiles, how they were rated,
and samples of their work. Review third-party links attached to their profiles on Facebook, Quora, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other types of accounts. These resources can give you a 360-degree view that’s very comprehensive. 

Now that’s something to bark about!

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