Will Your Boss be an Algorithm?

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Barbara Hodge


More and more work is being ‘managed’ by algorithms. In fact, as most of us know by now, algorithms and data science are changing the way enterprises operate. In the UK alone, 2.8 m workers make up the gig-economy, predominantly self-employed individuals. And they are not just working for Uber!

Organizations are embracing the digital workforce alongside embracing digitally managed human workers. But algorithm-driven work posts a challenge for workers, explains Digital Sociologist Karen Gregory, Lecturer at City College of New York,in an interview with the BBC, because they feel stressed as a result of perceived loss of control in the workplace.

With algorithms being invisible, this has an unnerving effect on workers impacted.

In an ideal world workers would be made privy to the data making decisions, Karen explains. Transparency is key.

The solution is for workers to develop their own data skills and literacy. “Become a data scientist!” advises Karen. Workers with access to data training will succeed, while those left behind will be increasingly displaced. The best advice for the algorithm-driven workforce of the future, she suggests, is Worker Mobilization (though hopefully not revolution?!).

Jeremiah Prassl, Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, expands on this idea by introducing the concept of Human as a Services. He advises the use of law to level the playing field – whereby regulations could protect, but also foster, new and exciting innovations. 

Watch the clip below: