When your boss is an algorithm

“It’s hard to spread the word when you don’t even know who your colleagues are. But the couriers have an idea. They open their apps as customers and order food to be delivered to them. As UberEats couriers arrive with pizzas at the place their app has sent them, the strikers tell them about the protest and urge them to join in. Algorithmic management, meet algorithmic rebellion.”

[…]

“Algorithms are providing a degree of control and oversight that even the most hardened Taylorists could never have dreamt of”

[…]

Martin Warren, a partner and head of labour relations at the Eversheds law firm, says the gig economy poses a profound challenge to the way the law defines jobs. Many gig workers simply do not fit neatly under an employee or a self-employed label. “Is it going to lead to a redefinition of the employment/self-employment divide with a broader test for employment? That is the question to pose.”

[…]

Yet for critics such as Guy Standing, one man’s flexibility is another man’s insecurity. The gig economy is fuelling a “precariat” class of workers denied the protections of traditional jobs, he says. Algorithms provide “fantastic opportunities for rapacious exploitation” of people who are already at the bottom of the labour market. “They can monitor and make sure they only pay for the time they really want to pay for, and yet have people available at all times, waiting on call.”

(source accessed 24.09.2016)