Data researcher Alex Rosenblat examines Uber’s claims of enabling drivers/entrepreneurs and discovers the dark economic truths underlying its worldwide success.
Alex Rosenblat – a researcher at the Data & Society Research Institute and a technology ethnographer – shows what it’s like to work for Uber, and how technology enabled a sharing economy that’s changing the working world. She finds that Uber circumvents laws and regulations and exploits drivers through an algorithmic manager. As a result, Rosenblat discovered, Uber drivers don’t know their remuneration rates or working conditions as they deal with hostile passengers, shifting pay and unresolved conflicts. Despite these conditions, Rosenblat reports, many drivers like the flexible hours and enjoy their jobs.
The majority of Uber’s drivers work part time [with] three common motivations among them for doing this kind of work: It compensates for a career transition, it allows for much-needed flexibility or it fills the need for a good bad job.Alex Rosenblat
Publishers Weekly wrote, “This jargon-free and intriguing exposé offers food for thought for anyone interested in worker protections or societal changes driven by technology.” Slate said Uberland, “functions as an examination of both how Uber’s algorithms are changing the way companies operate and exert control over their workers and how those workers are experiencing these changes.” And The Los Angeles Review of Books said of Rosenblat, “Her analysis isn’t a polemic; it is balanced and measured.”