from The Daily Bell:
Uber is psychologically manipulating their drivers in order to exploit them. I know this because a New York Times article told me so. The article is titled, How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons, and starts, “The secretive ride-hailing giant Uber rarely discusses internal matters in public.”
From this alone, I can deduce that Uber is run by tricksters who are manipulative of their employees and very guarded in their tactics for profit, which makes me assume they are unethical practices.
The New York Times piece does mention that Uber is trying to be more friendly and engaging with its drivers since they have gotten some bad press on that front. But the article goes on to inform me further of the exploitation:
And yet even as Uber talks up its determination to treat drivers more humanely, it is engaged in an extraordinary behind-the-scenes experiment in behavioral science to manipulate them in the service of its corporate growth…
Uber’s innovations reflect the changing ways companies are managing workers amid the rise of the freelance-based “gig economy.” Its drivers are officially independent business owners rather than traditional employees with set schedules. This allows Uber to minimize labor costs, but means it cannot compel drivers to show up at a specific place and time. And this lack of control can wreak havoc on a service whose goal is to seamlessly transport passengers whenever and wherever they want.
Uber helps solve this fundamental problem by using psychological inducements and other techniques unearthed by social science to influence when, where and how long drivers work. It’s a quest for a perfectly efficient system: a balance between rider demand and driver supply at the lowest cost to passengers and the company.
Employing hundreds of social scientists and data scientists, Uber has experimented with video game techniques, graphics and noncash rewards of little value that can prod drivers into working longer and harder — and sometimes at hours and locations that are less lucrative for them.
Basically, the article admits that drivers have more freedom and independence, but casts it as a bad thing since they are psychologically manipulated into working harder, or at particular times. But doesn’t that beat being basically literally manipulated into working harder or longer at a typical company?
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