Uber has used so far algorithms in order to determine his drivers to work at a specific place and at a specific time. Therefore, psychological tricks have been used to influence when, where and how long drivers work. However, this goes against the very concept of Uber to minimize costs through declaring its drivers independent business owners.
For this reason, Uber is trying to get the best out of the two worlds: minimize its costs for customers by having contracts with drivers that serve this purpose and also meeting customer demand through the psychological tricks it uses on its drivers.
In this case, algorithms have a malicious use to make a business profitable while sacrificing its employees’ independence and work satisfaction. A Working Code that would empower the employees to decide to what extent they want their data used by their employers, while making sure that they have enough understanding of their choice.
How far behind is the regulator currently regarding new work practices in the digitalised world? Furthermore, is the regulator in a position to intervene in this type of issues and set some limits to the way in which executives treat their employees in order to cut costs?
However, to be honest, I think the tricks played by Uber is quite justifiable. As Uber conductors are still there own boss in the gig economy, they can decide by themselves whether to work or not. Even though Uber has took advantage of psychologists’ research and their employees’ data to motivate their employees to work, it’s not imposed after all. The latter choose to work for several reasons: maybe they just want to earn more money, maybe they want to accept the challenges set by Uber. So instead of establishing a new working code to limit the amount of data that could be collected from employers, maybe we can empower more the employees to decide to what extent they want their data used by their employers? If so, how can we make sure they have enough understanding of their choice?
I know it was in our sources for this week, but what do you think of keeping the questions about work for our class with Yann Algan?
Interesting question! We are humans after all, we cannot work like machines.
Could we, for example, imagine a Working Code with rules and limits to the amount of data employers can collect about their employees and use to sanction / reward / incentivise them?
Also the question of how far behind is currently the regulator regarding new work practices intending to digitalisation, is interesting. What do you think ?