Initiative

The Future of Labor in a Data-Centric Society

Introduction

Technology is disrupting, destabilizing, and transforming many aspects of the labor force. Data & Society seeks to better understand emergent disruptions in the labor force as a result of data-centric technological development, with a special focus on structural inequalities.

Currently, we are exploring these issues through two ongoing projects:

  1. Mapping Inequalities Across the On-Demand Economy
  2. Understanding Privacy as a Means of Economic Redistribution
  3.  

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Journal Articles and Papers

Columbia Law Review
03.07.17

paper
03.10.16

Limitless Worker Surveillance

Ifeoma Ajunwa, Kate Crawford, Jason Schultz

Primers

primer
10.30.04

Data & Civil Rights: Employment Primer

Alex Rosenblat, Kate Wikelius, danah boyd, Seeta Peña Gangadharan, Corrine Yu

primer
10.08.14

Future of Labor: Networked Employment Discrimination

Alex Rosenblat, Tamara Kneese, danah boyd

primer
10.08.14

Future of Labor: Technologically Mediated Artisanal Production

Tamara Kneese, Alex Rosenblat, danah boyd

primer
10.08.14

primer
10.08.14

Future of Labor: Workplace Surveillance

Alex Rosenblat, Tamara Kneese, danah boyd

primer
10.08.14

Future of Labor: Understanding Intelligent Systems

Alex Rosenblat, Tamara Kneese, danah boyd

Periodical Articles and Posts

Testimony, Interviews, Presentations

Press Coverage

NRC
06.05.18

‘Zie je wel!’, zegt Uber nu

In Dutch: NRC references Data & Society Researcher Alex Rosenblat’s research into Uber and the future of work. “Toch zijn de uitkomsten van het Ipsos- onderzoek niet voor iedereen...
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TIME
03.09.17

The Latest Victim of Uber’s Disruption May Be Itself

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Ryan Calo’s recent work in “The Taking Economy: Uber, Information, and Power” was featured in this TIME article. At a minimum, Greyball makes apparent...
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New Scientist
10.12.16

Do Uber ratings let passengers discriminate against drivers?

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat expands on the work of “Discriminating Tastes: Customer Ratings as Vehicles for Bias if Uber ratings discriminate against drivers” in this New Scientist piece. The trouble...
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Information Week
08.02.16

Uber Drivers Under Algorithmic Management: Study

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted in this Information Week analyzing Uber’s algorithmic management model. “Overall, the risk and costs are redistributed to drivers, through a combination of communications...
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CNN
07.28.16

How Uber punishes drivers who refuse to use UberPool

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted in this CNN piece describing an Uber tactic called timeouts meant to discourage drivers from turning down rides. The timeouts have also reignited...
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Psychology Today
05.02.16

Duet Ex Machina

D&S fellow Karen Levy discusses her research with truckers, how they work with heightened surveillance, and how they protest surveillance methods in this Psychology Today article None of this...
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The Guardian
04.27.16

How Uber conquered London

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted in this piece by the Guardian discussing Uber’s influence in London. According to Rosenblat, there is very little about Uber which is light-touch,...
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The Los Angeles Times
04.22.16

How Uber’s big settlement may make things worse for its drivers

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s article for the Harvard Business Review was cited in the LA Times in its discussion of Uber’s workforce. The settlement still leaves Uber...
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Jacobin
03.23.16

The Sharing Economy’s Dirty Laundry

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in the sharing economy was discussed in Jacobin Magazine. “For example, Uber has successfully created the impression that their surge-pricing policies...
read more

Economic Policy Institute
03.17.16

Uber business model does not justify a new ‘independent worker’” category

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s work on researching the sharing economy, and particularly Uber, was quoted in this piece by the Economic Policy Institute. “According to Rosenblat and Stark (2015),...
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Huffington Post
01.21.16

Why Monitoring Workers Could End Up Backfiring

D&S founder danah boyd was quoted in this Huffington Post piece discussing the impacts of higher rates of surveilling workers. “Pushing for efficiency is destabilizing low-wage workers.” And thus,...
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The Guardian
01.10.16

With this ‘mirage of a marketplace’, Uber is taking its customers for a ride

D&S Fellow Madeleine Clare Elish and D&S Researcher Tim Hwang’s article in Slate was cited in the Guardian article discussing the ‘mirage marketplace’ – further building upon D&S researcher...
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The Washington Post
12.24.15

New federal rules will subject truck drivers to more monitoring than ever

D&S fellow Karen Levy was quoted in this Washington Post article discussing electronic monitors of truck drivers. “There is widespread feeling that ELDs crack down on drivers while missing...
read more

Maclean's
12.10.15

Uber can’t be defeated from the outside—but maybe from within

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat, along with Luke Stark, was quoted in this Maclean’s article discussing how drivers may bring changes to the driving sharing economy. They concluded that the...
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SF Weekly
12.10.15

Another Pointless Study / Law & Order / Tech A Tale of Two Uber Studies: As Lawsuit Expands, Dueling Datasets Ask Whether Drivers Are Happy

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s work in researching the driving sharing economy was mentioned in this San Francisco Weekly article discussing Uber drivers’ attitudes towards participating in Uber. 88 percent...
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Daily Mail
12.03.15

Never lose your Uber again! New colour changing strips allows cars to ‘flash’ at their passengers

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s work was quoted in this Daily Mail piece discussing Uber’s new strategies to help users find their rides. ‘If a potential passenger opened up the...
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MIT Technology Review
12.01.15

When Your Boss Is an Uber Algorithm

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat is quoted in MIT Technology Review article discussing Uber’s control over its drivers. Alex Rosenblat, a researcher at Data & Society and coauthor of the...
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TheRideShareGuy.com
11.25.15

RSG030: Alex Rosenblat On How Much Control Uber Really Has Over Its Drivers

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat is interviewed by the Ride Share Guy, a podcast and blog for rideshare drivers.
read more

The Awl
11.17.15

The Uber Counterculture

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in researching Uber’s treatment of its drivers was reviewed and discussed in this piece by The Awl. But perhaps the most...
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The Stranger
11.11.15

Can Seattle Launch a Movement for a New Kind of Workers’ Union?

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in researching Uber’s labor management was discussed in this article by the Stranger. After studying online forums where drivers talked about...
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The Wall Street Journal
11.04.15

At Uber, the Algorithm Is More Controlling Than the Real Boss

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work was discussed in this Wall Street Journal piece discussing Uber’s control over its workers. The company’s algorithm uses performance metrics, scheduling...
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The Theory of Everything
10.09.15

Enchanting By Numbers (2015 version)

D&S researcher Tim Hwang was interviewed in Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast. We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and...
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PRI
09.05.15

Gamifying the workplace: is it ethical?

D&S fellow Karen Levy is quoted in this PRI article that discusses how workers respond to tracking technologies. “It sounds like it’s just a way to sort of optimize...
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The Guardian
08.18.15

Being edgy and cool doesn’t make tech companies any less exploitative

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat discusses the ambiguity of service standards in Uber and how that effects drivers. This means that drivers wind up doing extra free labour – above...
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The Guardian
08.07.15

Have Uber’s ‘phantom cars’ disappeared?

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted from her Vice article in this Guardian piece describing Uber’s transition from the ‘phantom car’ screen. Rosenblat, a researcher for New York-based thinktank...
read more

The Washington Post
07.31.15

It’s incredibly difficult to stop the Internet from knowing you’re pregnant

D&S affiliate Janet Vertesi was quoted in this Washington Post piece discussing how difficult it is to stop targeted ads from knowing about your personal life. “Those kinds of...
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The Telegraph
07.30.15

Uber denies its app displays ‘phantom cabs’

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work on Uber’s algorithm-based mapping system for consumers is cited in this Telegraph article. In an article for Vice’s Motherboard, the researchers...
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SF Gate
07.30.15

Uber’s app may show phantom cars

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in analyzing Uber’s algorithm-based mapping of drivers’ location. Researchers from Data & Society did some digging of its own, and were...
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Fortune
07.30.15

Uber denies there are ‘phantom’ cars in its app

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s research in Uber’s algorithm-based map for consumers was cited in this article by Fortune. In a Vice article, Alex Rosenblat and Luke...
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Übergizmo
07.30.15

Uber Denies Showing ‘Ghost Cars’ In App

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in Uber’s algorithm-based maps for consumers is quoted in this piece by Übergizmo. Yesterday a report claimed that Uber shows “ghost...
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press coverage
08.15.31

Cars in Uber App: Real or Phantom Vehicles?

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted in this piece by PC Magazine about her work with Luke Stark on Uber drivers. “Over a six-month period, my colleague Luke Stark...
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CNN
07.30.15

Uber: There are no ghost cars in our app

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s Vice article analyzing Uber’s interactions with drivers was quoted in this CNN article. The Vice story, written by two people from research...
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RTT News
07.30.15

Uber Denies Having ‘Phantom Cabs’

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark were cited in this piece by RTT News discussing Uber’s map for passengers. Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark, a pair of researchers...
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The Guardian
07.30.15

Uber denies misleading passengers with ‘phantom cars’ on app

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work on Uber’s algorithm-based map was quoted in this piece by the Guardian. The claim was made by Alex Rosenblat and Luke...
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The Huffington Post
07.29.15

Uber App Uses ‘Phantom Cars’ To Lure Customers, US Researcher Says

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s work researching Uber and its relations with its drivers was quoted in this piece by Huffington Post. As part of a project for Microsoft FUSE...
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LBC
07.29.15

Uber’s Real-Time Map Shown To Be Fake

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in researching the validity of Uber’s map for available nearby cars was quoted in this piece by LBC. Employees of think-tank...
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ITProPortal
07.29.15

Is Uber’s taxi map full of fake cabbies?

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted in an ITProPortal piece discussing Uber map-building. Alex Rosenblat, a New York-based data researcher who studied how Uber drivers interact with the Uber...
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SFist
07.29.15

The Cars Uber Shows You Before You Hail A Ride Are Bogus

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s work researching Uber was discussed in this article by SFist. However, researchers at Data & Society claim that the supply of Uber drivers is actually...
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Gizmodo
07.29.15

Uber Is Faking Us Out With ‘Ghost Cabs’ On Its Passenger Map

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work was quoted in this Gizmodo piece about Uber’s ride availability map. Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark, researchers studying Uber’s user interaction,...
read more

Fast Company
07.29.15

Uber Fudges The Position Of Local Drivers, But They’ve Got A Pretty Good Reason Why

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was cited in this piece by Fast Company discussing the ethics of Uber’s ‘mirage marketplace’. On Monday, Vice’s Motherboard published an exposé on Uber’s map-based...
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The Independent
07.28.15

Uber’s real-time nearby cars map is fake, data experts claim

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat, along with Luke Stark, were quoted in this Independent article discussing Uber’s car map. Analysts Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark go on to pick apart...
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The Independent
07.28.15

Swarm of Uber on-screen taxis often ‘phantoms’, says investigation

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was quoted in this piece by The Independent exploring Uber’s mapping algorithm “If a potential passenger opened up the app and saw no cars around,...
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Inc.
07.28.15

Uber Offers an Explanation For Those ‘Phantom Cars’

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s article for Vice discussing Uber’s mirage marketplace was quoted in this article by Inc. Passengers looking to catch an Uber may see more cars chugging...
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Wired
07.28.15

Uber’s real time car map is fake

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat’s work was quoted in this Wired article discussing Uber’s projected, rather than real-time, analysis of rider demand. The marketplace Uber has created for the world,...
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WebProNews
07.28.15

Is Uber Populating Its Map with Ghost Cars?

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s work in researching Uber’s ride availability map was discussed in this piece by WebProNews.
read more

Gizmodo
07.28.15

Uber Fakes Its Real-Time Taxi Map

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark were quoted in this Gizmodo piece discussing Uber’s map-building algorithm. Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark of New York think tank Data &...
read more

CBC Radio
06.28.15

Police body cams, accountability and injustice

D&S Researcher Alex Rosenblat was interviewed for a CBC Radio segment concerning her work researching police body cameras. Over the past few years, there has been an increased call...
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Fast Company
05.22.15

The office is watching you

D&S fellow Karen Levy was quoted in this Fast Company piece discussing surveillance of workers. Some research suggests that excessive monitoring can itself curb productivity and innovation, says Karen...
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New York Times
03.15.15

Managers Turn to Computer Games, Aiming for More Efficient Employees

“Karen Levy, a fellow at the Data and Society Research Institute…recently completed a three-year study on performance tracking in a decidedly old-line business: trucking. Over the last two decades,...
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Related Events

Researchers

Alexandra Mateescu

@cariatidaa

Alex Rosenblat

@mawnikr

Julia Ticona

@JuliaTicona1

Karen Levy

@karen_ec_levy

Dean Jansen

@deanjansen

Solon Barocas

@S010N

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