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En 1972, Dalí had his first hologram exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery in New York (Holo! Holo! Velázquez! Gabor!). It was a homage to Denis Gabor, inventor of this light phenomenon, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics a year earlier for his laser works. Dalí’s interest in holography, considering that his work could not be understood beyond his interests in science, was proof at the time of the multiple functions of holography.

This technique that Dalí studied to achieve perfect tridimensional figures in his paintings can be applied today, in the 21st century and during the throws of the technological revolution, in a wide range of areas whose scope also includes labor relations. Clear examples of these uses in the area of employment are as follows: “Shanice,” the hologram receptionist that welcomes visitors to Brent Town Hall in London and the virtual lectures by Ray Kurzweil (engineering director at Google) in which a 3D image of Ray is projected on a type of podium.

The possibility for companies to use technological reproductions as if they were employees and the ability to achieve a work-family balance by providing services in a place without the need to go there physically are issues that have been under discussion in relation to other disruptive technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

Two years ago, a hologram protest was held in Madrid in which the protesters were recorded marching and their holograms were projected at the location where they wanted to hold the protest. This highlighted the existence of technology needed for a possible application of holography in the area of labor relations: union protests using holograms. This protest method, which as been used in other countries, including South Korea, the mother land of Samsung and the birthplace of modern technology, presents many legal challenges. If these protests are carried out in a way that does not clash with or damage any rights at stake, then there is no problem. However, a dispute would arise if this protest channel is used to the detriment of the rights of employers, employees and third parties.

Therefore, and regarding the infringement of employers’ rights arising from a hologram protest, it is evident that the Act on Labor Court Rules grants unions active and passive legal capacity, and consequently employers could assert their rights in the labor courts.

However, how the courts would check authorship when having to attribute a possible responsibility arising from these acts to the persons that participated in them is a matter for study. These difficulties are similar to those that arise when imposing disciplinary measures resulting from the sending of certain emails whose authorship must also be deciphered before any measures can be enforced.

These issues become more important in the case of the matter discussed in this article, as situations could arise in which third parties’ rights could be infringed, particularly regarding data protection. For example, if, to carry out the hologram protest, images of people were taken directly from the internet without their consent, meaning that people that had nothing to do with the protest could appear in the hologram protest.

Thus, if technological advances are implemented in unionization as quickly as they are being implemented in relation to job positions, we could soon be observing hologram protests like those mentioned here, but also protests by robots and avatars. Until then, the legal issues put forward here will remain unclear.

This post is also available in: Español



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