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Designing for Labour: Uber and the On-Demand Mobile Workforce
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Human-Computer Interaction.
Univ, Mobile Life, SE-164 Kista, Sweden..
Univ, Mobile Life, SE-164 Kista, Sweden..
2016 (English)In: 34Th Annual Chi Conference On Human Factors In Computing Systems, Chi 2016, 2016, 1632-1643 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Apps allowing passengers to hail and pay for taxi service on their phone– such as Uber and Lyft–have affected the livelihood of thousands of workers worldwide. In this paper we draw on interviews with traditional taxi drivers, rideshare drivers and passengers in London and San Francisco to understand how “ride-sharing” transforms the taxi business. With Uber, the app not only manages the allocation of work, but is directly involved in ‘labour issues’: changing the labour conditions of the work itself. We document how Uber driving demands new skills such as emotional labour, while increasing worker flexibility. We discuss how the design of new technology is also about creating new labour opportunities – jobs – and how we might think about our responsibilities in designing these labour relations. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 1632-1643 p.
Keyword [en]
On demand labour, sharing economy, uber, ridesharing, on-demand labour, transport, labour issues
National Category
Interaction Technologies Human Aspects of ICT
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276270DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858476ISI: 000380532901062ISBN: 978-1-4503-3362-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-276270DiVA: diva2:902116
34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI4GOOD), MAY 07-12, 2016, San Jose, CA, USA
Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-02-10 Last updated: 2016-09-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Technology Encounters: Exploring the essence of ordinary computing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technology Encounters: Exploring the essence of ordinary computing
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As computing technology has become a vital part of everyday life, studies have increasingly scrutinized the underlying meaning of computational things. As different devices become interwoven with daily practices and routines, there is a growing interest in understanding not only their functional meaning in computational terms but also their meaning in relation to other non-computation artefacts.

This thesis investigates how people relate to artefacts and how their individual values and attitudes affect this relationship.  The analysis is based on four ethnographic studies, which look at the richness of ordinary interactions with technology to understand the impact of technology upon practice and experience.

The process through which humans develop a relationship to artefacts is framed as a continuous series of encounters, through which the individual constantly reshapes their relationship to things.  Artefacts are seen as lines in the mesh of everyday life, and the encounters are the intersections between lines. This approach–grounded in phenomenology and paired with an anthropological understanding of everyday life–reconceptualises understanding of the processes of adaption, meaning-making, disposing and recycling. The work reveals how human relations to all kinds of things–in the form of meaning–is continually transforming. Core to this understanding is the cultural relative essence that becomes perceived of the artefacts themselves. This essence deeply affects the way we encounter and thus interact with technology, as well as objects more broadly. In the daily interaction with computing devices we can observe that computing technology alters the mesh on a different level than non-computational artefacts: digital interfaces pull our lines together, bundle experiences an affect how we encounter the material and the social world. This enables computing devices to have meanings distinct from non-computing technology. To go further, computing is itself a mode of existence – a crucial difference in things that helps us understand the complexity of the material world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Informatics and Media, 2016. 93 p.
Uppsala Studies in Human-Computer Interaction, 4
Everyday life, ICT, phenomenology, ethnography, cultural analysis
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301158 (URN)978-91-506-2589-9 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-10-04, Hörsal 3, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-09-13 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-09-13

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