Digital Platforms Don’t Know Their Workers

Digital Platforms Don’t Know Their Workers

With the tourism increase came the growth of electronic platforms, which do not comply with labor rights – the staff do not pay out taxes, do not have social protection nor insurance policy.

The identify given to this new reality is the sharing overall economy. Normally, this is a services offered by a digital platform, these as Uber, Airbnb, Google or Amazon, firms that are altering towns throughout the world. It is important to feel of the paradoxes created by these platforms.

The very first is linked to algorithms. Yuval Noah Harari – author of various best-sellers these types of as “Sapiens: A Brief Historical past of Humanity” and “Homo Deus: A Short Background of Tomorrow” – states in his hottest book that human beings are intricate algorithms. We are just information and facts and we will return to info, “dust to dust”. The knowledge that circulate in our brains and bodies can be linked to artificial intelligence, allowing for us to grow to be tremendous persons. At minimum the financial elite can become superhuman, “meta-human”.

It could be partly confirmed by 1 of Amazon workers’ mottos: “we are human, don’t treat us like robots”. This protest will come from the point that Jeff Bezos’ business has analyzed each and every human motion to enhance its workforce, each and every stage of its staff and their robots.

It is not about avoiding a worker from sitting down down or likely to the lavatory, as normally takes place in shops. It is about defining the steps they have to choose, when and how to sit, when and how to go to the lavatory and eat. The final result is noticeable: a mode of manufacturing the place personnel complain of wonderful worry in the place of work, force, and harassment, ensuing in really serious wellbeing difficulties.

Then, there is the instance of the Human Cloud – as opposed to cloud computing –, exactly where quite a few people get the job done on desktops in their residences, in diverse towns, in different nations, in an on-need program.

For instance, Mari Herunidue lives in Manila, Philippines, and delivers consulting companies for a pc enterprise 15.000 km away Pete Palma, from Spain, bids in a reverse auction the cost of his translation perform. In other phrases, whoever bids the most affordable cost for every word wins in the around the globe auction. The Cloud Human does not have a task: they have jobs or assignments, parts of work opportunities lower into parts, just like Ford did to production procedures.

An additional paradox is associated to details. When you go to Amazon and acquire a guide and a t-shirt, the algorithm learns about your personalized tastes, immediately suggesting buying a shaver for a hipster beard. The similar goes for Uber, Airbnb and so on.

Immediately after the 2nd acquire, and based mostly on your gender, age, Facebook mates, mobile phone model, and GPS place, the algorithm knows additional than your household about what you like. But, if we have an marketplace that relies upon on Large Information and algorithms, why don’t we have any information and facts about its employees? How a lot of are there? Who are they? What do they get? How old are they? Are they gentlemen? Are they ladies?


And if we really do not know who they are, if we really do not know what they gain, then we know we never have the instruments to safeguard them from social hazards. We simply cannot defend them in sickness, maternity, unemployment, outdated age.

And we know more. We know that, if we do not know them, labor laws does not apply to them, it does not protect them: the algorithm can hearth an Uber driver for a fall in their score. The time period is “disconnect”. And, when the point out doesn’t know them, they really do not know every other both, which makes it complicated for them to struggle alongside one another and to signify on their own as a unionized power.

In European nations, the circumstance is notably significant. There are most staff on digital platforms. According to a examine by the European Fee, all-around 12% of workers are on these platforms. Development has stored speed with tourism.

In other words and phrases, Uber, Airbnb, Google know everything about these men and women, they identify how much they get paid, what their task is and how they route their work. But the authorities do not know these employees. Platforms do not comply with labor rights and workers do not appear on personnel maps, they do not shell out taxes, they do not fork out social protection, they do not have coverage, they are algorithms. They are personnel in the cloud.

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