Digital Platforms Don’t Know Their Workers

Digital Platforms Don’t Know Their Workers


With the tourism increase got here the increase of digital platforms, which don’t adjust to labor rights – the employees don’t pay taxes, wouldn’t have social safety nor insurance coverage.

The title given to this new actuality is the sharing economic system. Often, this can be a service offered by a digital platform, equivalent to Uber, Airbnb, Google or Amazon, corporations which can be altering cities worldwide. It is essential to think about the paradoxes created by these platforms.

The first is said to algorithms. Yuval Noah Harari – writer of a number of best-sellers equivalent to “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humanity” and “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” – states in his newest e-book that human beings are complicated algorithms. We are simply info and we are going to return to info, “dust to dust”. The information that flow into in our brains and our bodies could be related to synthetic intelligence, permitting us to turn out to be tremendous folks. At least the financial elite can turn out to be superhuman, “meta-human”.

It could possibly be partly confirmed by certainly one of Amazon employees’ mottos: “we are human, don’t treat us like robots”. This protest comes from the truth that Jeff Bezos’ firm has studied each human motion to optimize its workforce, each step of its employees and their robots.

It’s not about stopping a employee from sitting down or going to the lavatory, as typically occurs in shops. It is about defining the steps they must take, when and how one can sit, when and how one can go to the lavatory and eat. The result’s apparent: a mode of manufacturing the place employees complain of nice stress within the office, stress, and harassment, leading to critical well being issues.

Then, there’s the instance of the Human Cloud – versus cloud computing –, the place many individuals work on computer systems of their properties, in several cities, in several nations, in an on-demand system.

For instance, Mari Herunidue lives in Manila, Philippines, and offers consulting providers for a pc firm 15.000 km away; Pete Palma, from Spain, bids in a reverse public sale the worth of his translation work. In different phrases, whoever bids the bottom value per phrase wins within the worldwide public sale. The Cloud Human doesn’t have a job: they’ve duties or initiatives, components of jobs reduce into items, similar to Ford did to manufacturing processes.

Another paradox is said to information. When you go to Amazon and purchase a e-book and a t-shirt, the algorithm learns about your private preferences, instantly suggesting shopping for a shaver for a hipster beard. The similar goes for Uber, Airbnb and so forth.

After the second buy, and primarily based in your gender, age, Facebook buddies, cell phone mannequin, and GPS place, the algorithm is aware of greater than your loved ones about what you want. But, if we’ve got an business that will depend on Big Data and algorithms, why don’t we’ve got any details about its employees? How many are there? Who are they? What do they get? How outdated are they? Are they males? Are they girls?


And if we don’t know who they’re, if we don’t know what they earn, then we all know we don’t have the instruments to guard them from social hazards. We can’t defend them in illness, maternity, unemployment, outdated age.

And we all know extra. We know that, if we have no idea them, labor laws doesn’t apply to them, it doesn’t defend them: the algorithm can hearth an Uber driver for a drop of their score. The time period is “disconnect”. And, when the state doesn’t know them, they don’t know one another both, which makes it troublesome for them to battle collectively and to symbolize themselves as a unionized pressure.

In European nations, the state of affairs is especially critical. There are most employees on digital platforms. According to a examine by the European Commission, round 12% of employees are on these platforms. Growth has saved tempo with tourism.

In different phrases, Uber, Airbnb, Google know the whole lot about these folks, they decide how a lot they earn, what their job is and the way they route their work. But the authorities don’t know these employees. Platforms don’t adjust to labor rights and employees don’t seem on personnel maps, they don’t pay taxes, they don’t pay social safety, they don’t have insurance coverage, they’re algorithms. They’re employees within the cloud.


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