Lessons from one future of work: opportunities to flip the gig economy

Oliver Bates, Carolynne Lord, Hayley Alter, Adrian Friday, Ben Kirman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pervasive technologies are already transforming "The Future of Work". Mobile technologies, IoT, and data promise efficient and convenient work `on-demand'. They are convenient too for for platform providers whose clean and efficient interfaces for consumers disrupt marketplaces, offering digitally mediated access to services at a click. These same technologies provide access to work and labour markets whilst undermining promising flexible work and access to sufficient work. The global gig economy is expanding. Increasing numbers of workers see gig economy work as their main form of employment, yet have little voice in the construction of systems on which they depend. We argue that technologists must work with gig workers, policy makers and other stakeholders to address the adverse effects of technologies on gig workers. To better understand relationships between workers and the technologies they use, we describe insights from research carried out with UK cycle couriers. We reflect on technology's role in giving these workers' agency, rights and equity by design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021

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