Where gig economy = padding the loss of decent jobs by replacing the bottom end with desperate deals where "non employed" employees, without regular salary, benefits, company provided work tools, etc., make a pittance, while the organizing company gets a cut from millions of transactions.
In some cases, no jobs is better than subsistence/dead-end/exploitative jobs. At least the former makes the problem evident, and ups the pressure to do something about it on a society/policy/economy level -- as opposed to helping perpetuate it.
Here, the rise of the gig economy came from automation. Not in the caricature sense that there are robot automatons that serve your plates in a restaurant, but in a sense that scalable automated processes replaced human dispatchers that answers your phone calls at the taxi companies and radios drivers to pick you up, and automated processes that replaced taxi drivers wandering around aimlessly on the street trying to pick people up.
Here we get higher productivity but it's also a powerful hegemonizing, monopolizing, wealth concentrating force where the controllers of these automated processes, which scales globally at low cost, can skim value-add (that used to be done by more people with jobs) from the transportation and other needs everywhere.
But the solution isn't to break them up and for society to become unproductive and un-automated again by forcing minimum wage, health insurance, guaranteed menial jobs etc. Whether we like it or not, taxi radio dispatchers is never coming back as a mainstream job that can be the bedrock of local communities again.
Instead, we need to start having discussions now about the fundamental way how we structure human society in a world where more and more of this planet's 'productivity' is concentrating more and more in the hands of those who produce the AI automations. This is nothing short of answering the question of why we're alive. Right now, our sense of purpose comes from trading our muscular and mental power during life on this planet for GDP. If that's the metric, our muscular and mental powers' productivity vs AI will lose (maybe in 5 years, maybe in 10 years), and by implication, we lose our purpose for living. We need to stop pretending there is an artificial scarcity of productivity and change the purpose of life.
This is a Sanders vs Yang timeline of solving the problems we need to solve in the next 5 years vs solving the problems we need to solve in the next 20 years.
To me, the central problem is wealth disparity as a proxy for power disparity: our democratic government is more than capable of addressing our ongoing needs and desires if not for the overwhelming, unjust, and unearned influence of the wealthy.
This is why I think Sanders has the correct prescription and Yang is naive: the solution isn't a policy or set of policies to fix specific problems, no matter how farsighted, it's restructuring our political system to be solely answerable to people who it feigns to represent.
And the illusion that tech workers are not laborers is giving out under the weight of the high cost (hence lowered standard) of living in tech centers, and the growing realization that we're not temporarily embarrassed billionaires.
1- We recognize this Bonds villain plan, we stop it and go back to our happy pastural life and everyone lives happily ever after; or
2- We grant ourselves this new productivity as a reward that frees us from labor (but in the process have to answer the hard question of how to deal with going from solving the conflict between the 1% and the 99% to solving the conflict between the 0.0001% and the 99.9999%)
If we keep automating everything and capital gets to own the cloud processing power that allows for it, and we “rent everything” as some people are predicting, what the hell earning power will anyone have unless they work in AI or programming new things to automate?
Second, the idea that there is a 'we' encompassing the 1% and 99% or some future and even more fractional segmentation is unrealistic. There's already been millennia of slavery and serfdom: let's not repeat them by trusting that our seat at the table is somehow ordained and not the result of centuries of people fighting from chattel to power on our behalf.
If we can't achieve even the most basic, obvious reforms (a universal healthcare system, a livable wage, an end to global warming in our lifetimes) given the current power structure, then contributing to the further entrenchment of the wealthy isn't just counterproductive, it's suicidal.
Yang's approach is UBI: basically, give everyone monthly income with no strings attached and no means testing.
In both cases, the cost of the policies is offset by various forms of taxes.
Bernie's approach rests on the assumption that there are and will be enough jobs for everyone (if they have adequate access to the education, health care, and child care services they need), whereas Yang's is based on the assumption that there won't be.
In the long run, I figure that Yang is right (though we could also deal with the problem by transitioning to 30 or 20 hour work weeks), though Sanders' policy proposals better address the major problems we're dealing with right now.
Sanders doesn't AFAIK support a UBI, but on top of a slew of left-wing policies, his perspective is that you need a mass movement of people to build institutions that can challenge corporate power.
I'm not saying that'll work (or that it won't) but for the sake of it, that's his policy.
He also wishes to implement preferential voting.
This isn't an AI problem. This is an owner vs. employee problem. Advances in technology accrue to the owners at the expense of the employee. This always happens because employees sign over rights to their innovations to the employer in exchange for a short term need for money.
Most people never take the time or spend the money to invest in themselves.
What will happen to a society where every single person has their basic needs met by some form of automation, and nobody needs to work?
I would say most first world countries are already in this scenario if so much money wasn't spent on non essentials. Industrial scale farming, mass produced pharmaceuticals, rapid house construction etc. mean that if a society wanted, you could have 10% of the population providing for the 90% (an inversion of what was the case for most of human history).
There is no precedent or example from history to show us what this will do to society. How will humans cope with not actually needing to do anything? I personally envisage a Matrix like scenario where this societal change will also usher in advances in VR and related tech. People may spend most of their time engrossed in entertainment, until eventually, they see no need to participate in the real world at all.
Those who control the "means of automation" (robot factories, power stations, etc) --let's say 0.01%--, will rule over the rest, in gated communities and closed enclaves.
A small percentage of the population will live alongside them, in B-rated residences, to provide them services that, either still need humans or are better done by humans (e.g. sex), or its considered "classier" to have humans do for you (e.g. cooking). Let's say that's a 10%.
The rest 90% will be left to rot in urban and suburban slums, develop their own black economy, and shot on sight when they dare enter the rich areas.
Right now, that definition is commercial GDP value, but even that metric's inventor warned us that it's a bullshit metric .
Old people living by themselves sometimes spam call doctors, not for their heart bypass commercial value, but to feel materially better after talking to another human, which has no commercial value.
When I was trying to figure out what to do after high school, I was full of energy and curiosity for this world and wanted to do everything from being a historian, to a musician, to astrophysics, which, let's face it, has no commercial value. Now I'm coding. Luckily I like coding, but not everyone's lucky to have their interests align with commercial value.
Maybe it's not so bad for humans to be humans again.
I don't know if you know anything about 1990s-early 2000s artificial intelligence research, but the vision of the future back then was artificial agents communicating through standardized protocols to negotiate for goods and services. So, a decentralized dispatching system. What you are saying is false dichotomy monopolist propaganda. There is no technical reason why the only choice is between Uber and manual dispatching.
 I spent a few summers as a research assistant working on multi-agent systems. Feel free to object with "but, it's not technically feasible because X, Y, Z." I can probably refute most technical reasons and provide a good explanation.
Sometimes I think folks who think like this really need to get outside more. Yes, a lot of things are being automated, but (a) consider the janky quality of automation, because it's really not mature yet even in purely-software environments where everything can be controlled, and (b) consider the raw cost of doing it vs. the productivity savings and side effects. It's just not worth it for a lot of things and won't be until we have general-purpose AI and general-purpose robotic workers that can take on human-scale jobs. Even then, it might still be cheaper to get actual people in a lot of cases.
But even if so: as someone who implements something you might call automation, like most here, I have to ask: why is it exactly that I should owe a massive amount of my economic output to those who aren't outputting anything? At what point do I simply say "fuck it" and stop working too, because some ridiculous percentage of my income has to be applied towards feeding those who won't/can't/don't do anything productive?
I think that's the general mental mismatch that people have when thinking there's a 1:1 match between the present human job and the future 'robot job'.
Cashiers is the most common job in America and the biggest job loss to automation in the coming years. But it's not some Boston Dynamics humanoid fumbling your quarters around. Nor does it have anything to do with general-intelligence AI. It's simply the task specific orange forklift bots in Amazon warehouses that's wiping out American retail because with that bot, stuff on Amazon is a bit cheaper than in malls.
> But even if so: as someone who implements something you might call automation, like most here, I have to ask: why is it exactly that I should owe a massive amount of my economic output to those who aren't outputting anything? At what point do I simply say "fuck it" and stop working too, because some ridiculous percentage of my income has to be applied towards feeding those who won't/can't/don't do anything productive?
I think that's the core question. Why are you giving away your hard earned money to feeding your child? There is no GDP output from the child.
There will be, eventually; and I get to glorify my selfish genes.
That just pushes the problem some decades into the future.
Besides, it doesn't have to be perfect. It's enough that it renders a good chunk (say 20-60%) of the population useless job wise to have adverse effects.
In fact, if it wasn't for tons of paper-pushing and busywork serving as a sort of job program and UBI scheme, we'd be in deep shit already, just from the job migration to China and co, never mind AI.
>But even if so: as someone who implements something you might call automation, like most here, I have to ask: why is it exactly that I should owe a massive amount of my economic output to those who aren't outputting anything? At what point do I simply say "fuck it" and stop working too, because some ridiculous percentage of my income has to be applied towards feeding those who won't/can't/don't do anything productive?
For one, because they can get guns and come and blow your brains out and steal your food. So now you need to pay for cops, and government, or your private militia and so on.
Second, because your quality of life, even if ultra rich will drop quickly in a failed country, when people are unemployed and not "outputting anything". In fact the whole country might go down the drain...
> Besides, it doesn't have to be perfect. It's enough that it renders a good chunk (say 20-60%) of the population useless job wise to have adverse effects.
Ya - within the US at least (current unemployment around 3%?), it does not even have to be at 20 - 60%. My feeling is that even 10 - 15% unemployment or below living wages would lead to revolts, especially if the unemployment is somewhat geographically concentrated.
You owe a massive amount of your economic output to others because you stand on the shoulders of people who are standing on the shoulders of people who are standing on the shoulders of people... and it's not a simple pyramid, but one giant ball of interdependence that will be thrown into chaos if a critical mass of people try to buck off their riders.
You can't pay the guy specifically holding you up, and not anyone else, because no one can truly identify their keystone supporters. So you pay a bunch of free riders, too, because that's the only way to ensure your supporters stay happy enough to carry you. And they may think that you aren't outputting anything of value to them, and they only carry you because they can't tell who's throwing all the bread down from above.
I pay freeloaders, because I don't want to fall off the ball, onto my fat ass, and fend for myself, using only what I had on hand when I dropped.
If someone engineered a more efficient society, where everyone has a useful and necessary role, for which they each have an individual advantage, and waste is unsupportable--such as for bootstrapping an off-Earth colony--I might join that, but then still accept that I will implicitly be supporting future generations of freeloaders by accumulating capital that will outlast me.
You don't want an accounting on what you are truly worth to society at large. Trust me.
Ok, fine, but if taxes get high enough, along with the benefits, you can expect some people to stop caring and start becoming freeloaders themselves.
Don't be surprised when people just say "screw it, this isn't worth it anymore, I am going to become a freeloader myself".
Some people yes. Good riddance from productivity to them.
The people with actual internal motivation would do inventions, great work, art, programming, etc, even if they're not getting mega-rich from it.
It might slow the speed of mega-corps and new gadgets every month, but perhaps that's just what the doctor ordered. More quality, less greedy obsolescence, longer term products, more personal vision (as opposed quick-buck-schemes).
Econ 101 opinion here, so I'm ignoring totally reasonable things like "people work for reasons other than monetary compensation" and assuming you're a rational participant in the economy, but I'd say there is no percentage at which you'd do that.
No matter how high a percentage is taken, you can always increase the topline number to make the bottom line number come out ahead of not working. I'd take a 99% tax on $1 billion/year over $14k/year in social insurance taxed at 0% if it were offered.
Anyway, isn't this similar to what the comp of people implementing something you might call automation is already doing in US tech hubs? We've had relatively low inflation in the US over the past decade (by CPI, anyway) but I can find you an article by Joel Spolsky from the aughts lamenting the fact that some tech companies were paying top new grads nearly $100k a year.
Huh? If I were getting, I don't know, 200k a year, for free, I'd probably quit.
Of course there is a level where that vast majority of people would simply not work anymore.
Rich people do this literally all the time. It's called "retirement".
Tax the wealthiest 0.01% at 99% and watch how fast they leave the country for low tax regions.
It already happens with people like the Facebook cofounder that renounced US citizenship.
Because that is where the action and the talent is. It's not just about money and cost of living.
Also the 0.01 are so absurdly wealthy many are pledging to give away their money. They are not going to move away from their homeland because they are taxed more.
There's no easy way of attributing value to invention. Does the inventor / automator really deserve all of the profit that would come from such automation for all of eternity?
What if another person was only 2 months behind in making the same invention? And 2 months after that, a 3rd person was destined to, and within 2 years, the idea would be so obvious that the top 5 percentile of that profession would have been able to come up with the same thing? Why should the first person / company to automate something deserve an eternal monopoly on the output of said automation?
UBI is a patronizing and elitist social welfare pipe dream to address a problem that doesn't exist. as silly as 'social media influencers' may be, they're an apt example of how the world changes in unexpected ways to accomodate the ambitions of some of the billions of people on this earth with active brains and pumping hearts.
I don't think anyone is proposing that humans then do nothing and watch VR porn while being tube fed for the rest of their lives. There is indeed an infinite amount of things left to do.
The question is given this 'initial condition' where everyone is where they are currently in 2019, who does that work.
Is it the 56 year old truck driver who's now 100k in the hole for the truck he bought that's now useless with automated trucks and who's using his disability benefits to feed his opiate problems from the painkillers he needed for his back from all the hours in the truck? If he's not the guy we're putting in CERN trying to demonstrate the next Higgs field interaction, what do we do with him?
but to follow your line of reasoning, what you do is walk up to him and say, "hey, in the next 10 years, your job is going to be automated. every year, your chances of losing your job goes up. what do you want to do? [...listens...] ok, let's set up a transition plan and make sure you're ready when the time comes." and who knows, maybe he's a hobby machinist, and can work for CERN custom-building the crazy one-off contraptions they need.
it's paternalistic and patronizing to make assumptions about the abilities and motivations of millions of people and 'solve' their problem for them. it's how we get misguided social programs that waste billions of dollars (i'm not against social programs, just misguided ones, and they're really, really tricky to structure properly).
Our mental plasticity just has age related limits.
I'd also debate the conclusion you're making on which approach is more patronizing. I'd assume giving you (and everyone) the means to make your own choices with money is less patronizing than appointing your specific job as a lost cause and appointing new jobs for you to go train yourself for.
also, on people's intrinsic motivations: people don't want money in and of itself. people want esteem (e.g., status) and influence (e.g., power). jobs and careers provide those things; handouts do not.
We are not sophisticated enough to get roads fixed and keep the water supply clean. Long way to go. Don't fall for people who tell you it can happen faster, until they have fixed the roads and cleaned the water in one town.
The argument being made is that the drivers of loss of jobs are progress, and the jobs being created as a result of this are not going equitably towards the people displaced.
The purpose of life argument isn't saying that you will have clean water and fixed roads when AI automates you out of the job, it's the opposite - you won't have a fixed road or clean water because you don't matter. The money ain't near you or your run-down, economically irrelevant, town.
There is no need to debate and discuss anything more if you have proof for the simplest case.
I don't understand your argument at all. It's unrelated to people being automated out of a job and the structure of our society changing. We aren't going towards a utopia where everything is perfect, we are talking about a stumbling forward into the unknown, all our crummy parts bolted onto us.
Climate, healthcare, immigration, requires focus to fix correctly
If we broke Uber into 1000 Uberlets, it still doesn't change that their only path out is still to be first in replacing all drivers with AI. As pro union, pro minimum wage, pro health benefit, pro 3 day weekend as I am, taxi driver jobs are still not coming back. There just aren't going to be sustainable mining towns or fishing towns or trucker stop towns.
This doesn't answer the humanity in 2050 question. And we need to start answering that question now.
Sure, but neither you or I get to decide that qualification. Only the person doing the job does. We don't really know what fits their lives or what options they have.
I don't like gig stuff/sharing economy (or the big 'unicorns' associated with it) either...but it is "another option" for many people that wouldn't have one, esp. lower skilled immigrants, minorities, retired and young people.
The "what about personal responsibility" can be applied to most things society offers you. Law enforcement? Buy your own gun and defend yourself. Firefighters? Buy your own water hose. Exploitive employers? Grow your own backbone.
Those first two aren't similar because I don't volunteer to have crime committed against me or for my house to burn down. People voluntarily drive for Uber.
Most cities have historically not regulated transportation providers where the customer contracts with the provider ahead of time, or they are regulated in a different class and much more leniently than taxis. "Black car" aka livery and limousine services have existed long before Uber, and were not breaking the law in cities where they operated.
Most cities consider taxis to be vehicles that can be hailed by riders at the curb, where the trip is not pre-arranged and the customer has no prior business relationship with the transportation provider. Although Uber now has the ability to book actual taxis in some cities, this is not the category in which Uber historically operated.
Uber was able to grow quickly in part because it tapped into the large established base of private car services. These services existed in cities all over the world, but there was no unified interface to book cars with them. That's the niche that Uber filled. If you talk to many drivers today, they work for these companies (or own their own small company) and use Uber to fill their downtime.
For more information on this, see: "How does Uber overcome taxi medallion regulations?" on Quora: https://www.quora.com/How-does-Uber-overcome-taxi-medallion-...
> Before Uber and ride sharing, not all cars with personal driver for hires were taxis. You also had livery cars (such as limousine or black cabs) and various other systems. In cities that enforce a medallion system, taxis have more rights than livery cars; specifically, they are authorized to respond to street hails, ie to pick a passenger that waves at them from the street. Livery cars only can take a pre-arranged trip. As the number of medallions is limited, the right to take street hails is exclusive to taxis.
> Uber can be used to book taxis in certain markets but the vast majority of Uber trips are not taxi rides. Originally, the Uber service was what is Uber Black today, bringing business to livery cars. The cars were already licensed, insured and authorized to operate. They weren’t allowed to pick up a person on the street (still aren’t) but if a trip was booked to the app, it’s considered pre-arranged. So this didn’t change much from a legal perspective.
A market only works efficient when there is information parity, but a small-time Uber driver can't put a data science team on the job to make sure Uber isn't abusing their information advantage, so in this case i'd only find it fair to require them to do those calculations in a transparent manner.
Like really doing it in Excel, instead of just looking at ballpark estimates and thinking "yeah that's gonna be enough"?
Many people don't think of themselves and their position in life in this fashion and rather have a moralistic view of the world: "If I work a lot, I'll feed my family!" and just assume that is what is going to happen, based on the values they were taught growing up / in school / on tv.
> Many people don't think of themselves and their position in life in this fashion and rather have a moralistic view of the world: "If I work a lot, I'll feed my family!" and just assume that is what is going to happen, based on the values they were taught growing up / in school / on tv.
This is true and unfortunate, but the solution isn't to subsidize this mindset, the solution is to change the values people are taught growing up / in school / on tv. Not because I think it's necessarily bad to hold a moralistic view of the world, but because economics doesn't give a shit and will steamroll any clumsy attempt to provide shelter for the naive.
That Uber is a bad company to drive for isn't exactly a state secret. A bit of research (e.g. a Google search) will point out some problems.
> What is happening to personal responsibility?
It sure as heck is changing a lot when powerful players derive algorithmic insight that allows them to know/predict us better than we can ourselves and our communities, plus three things:
1. we can't keep up as individuals,
2. our governments (the last invention that helped us keep up,) can't keep up, and
3. we haven't evolved current institutions (including companies) to keep up on our behalf.
My money is on co-operatives -- democratic companies: [tech] worker co-ops and #platformcoop
We need things to push back, this time not on authority/power/money (old labour organizing days) so much as push back on capacity to know us and render us easily legible and influenced
Here's a place if you care to explore how tech folks are starting to play with this old-as-the-hills stuff that maybe hasn't been urgent enough up until now: https://community.coops.tech
Carrying a calculator in your pocket even helps make those little decisions at the store easier.
As in, those gains aren't accruing equally. Even among people, tech savvy monetizable upper-middle class people get tech sic'd on their dilemmas first. But between orgs and people, I worry it's an even bigger chasm. It's Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" in recursion, where accrual of knowledge capital (specifically about individuals, and their probability space of actions accessible through newfound data streams), not financial capital.
Anyhow, thanks for engaging :)
Credit Card and loan rates are two examples where some people would be so desperate that they would sign _anything_ to get an advance of cash or credit. But we have protection for them and rates cannot exceed a certain amount, depending on the type of loan.
I’m sure that a lot of people make good money driving for these companies, but I’d bet there are a lot of people who don’t understand what it really costs to drive a car and end up essentially acting as a conduit for money from their car’s value to Uber’s bank account. Uber knows this and does nothing. In any other context, we’d call it a scam. When a scammer is operating, do we have any obligation to stop them, or is “personal responsibility” it?
It would be nice if we could cultivate a similar expectation of corporate responsibility towards workers and customers.
Uber's tactic of attracting drivers with decent pay rates that they knew were unsustainable then slowly chipping away at that over time is sleazy.
You bought a car that was missing a very obscure but very critical peace in its brake assembly, and now it's embedded in another car in the middle of the intersection: Whatever happened to your personal responsibility in making sure that the car was complete?
“For some people it’s better to have no job than a bad job”
(Maybe that’s true but as you say it’s their choice to make)
He is saying:
“For society, it’s actually harmful that we paper over the cracks of giving people on the margins of society confidence in how they can economically contribute and get meaning with unsustainable “jobs” rather than society actually being forced to confront this problem”.
That is what we have regulations for.
Do you know and understand what is in your shampoo bottle? What a car needs to come equipped with, not just in obvious safety features but also in its deeper and detailed implementation, to be safe for normal use ("normal use" itself being something you get taught in driving school)? How to build your own house, or even just how to recognize that a building you enter will not fall down onto your head?
I, for myself, am very glad that regulations allow me to just assume certain ground truths in avoiding negative impact, without having to be an expert in every little thing that touches my life.
The reason they drive for Uber is not a lack of skill. It's because they ran out of money and needed a job. Often having skills doesn't translate into having a good job. Good jobs are a limited resource per area and field.
In the words of Toni Morrison (who recently left us): “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
For vast majority of people, the viewpoint would be that elected leaders making the "correct" decisions/rules (whatever we decide those are) is the actual long-term, proper fix. Technology is technology, it's a tool; and societal norms, rules, and regulations guide or decide how we use those tools.
In the specific case of uber, people benefit hugely from the service over the old way of how taxis worked (I know, I live in a place where ride sharing is illegal.) Uber's drivers can be thought of as exploited, but they're all there willingly, so I don't buy that for the most part. I've met so many drivers doing it parttime, entrepreneurs, students, retirees. They're better off for having options in general. Nobody is putting a gun to their heads.
I strongly disagree with this position. Yeah, sure, supporting people at the brink of poverty is one of the government's responsibilities, but taking away one of the few options they have goes in the opposite direction. Most of these gig-economy jobs differ from a regular job in that they're much easier to get, at least in most parts of Europe. If you meet a few basic requirements you're in. For people at risk, mentally ill people, and plenty of other segments of the population this is a real lifeline that they're not getting from anywhere else. This is keeping a roof over they head and food on the table.
Obviously, they're doing it because they can't get a better situation. Taking this option away is making them a lot more vulnerable, and doing them a lot of harm. It's not like they don't realise they're being exploited.
Sure, they should be supported etc. But that's just "shoulds", policy is difficult. For many, this gig-economy is an actual lifeline, that exists right now.
See the hospitality industry for an example. They have tips, so they don't get minimum wage.
The US government is famously bad at protecting people who need it. Anything which disguised that fact, even a little, should be removed.
If somebody is capable of providing for themselves, why "should" they be dependent on government services?
They have tips, so they don't get minimum wage.
Employers are required to make up the difference if tips don't reach minimum wage.
Anything which disguised that fact, even a little, should be removed.
Should be ban inexpensive food because it's just disguising how bad the government is at taking care of hungry people?
the real tripe in the gig economy is all the pontificating coming down from top how they all care about rights of people, except it only is Western people they care about while those in China and other countries get run over by their governments.
The simple fact is, no employer has to make the job solve all your financial needs. It is up to you to find the job that fulfills your requirements and you can perform safely and well. if that takes more than one job then so be it, many of us have been there before and did it. you don't get anywhere waiting for someone else to fix your life
Maybe because they didn't do the math on the depreciation of the vehicle + maintenance + car insurance with ride-sharing waivers vs. the income they receive from ride sharing. Then maybe we'd see a different opinion from drivers.
No amount of hard work buys you the right to hire around wage and employment laws.
Uber is not a real business. Nothing about hiring a driver or maintaining or running a car is cheaper now than before Uber. Uber will never be profitable unless people are willing to pay the same amount as for regular taxis or for a private driver (i.e. expensive).
Airbnb on the other hand is a real and vastly profitable business. Yes there need to be tighter regulations because we don’t want Airbnb everywhere. That will have a non-trivial effect on its business. But even after regulation it remains a very profitable and highly appealing consumer and business product.
The other difference is that Uber just gets you from A to B. I will never remember the car nor the driver. Even if the driving experience is great, I won’t be telling my friends about it.
Airbnb on the other hand provides memorable lifetime experiences.
I will never forget the truck, driven by a young man from Haiti whose temporary protective status was days from expiring, that had a hole rusted through the floor pan. It was a scary ass ride, but I genuinely felt he was getting as much as he could before having to go home.
I'll never forget the asshole from NJ who decided that, because we were both white, he cold go on a crazed anti-semitic rant about his home owner's association.
I'll never forget the driver who pulled his SUV over, went around the back, and took a leak--on a busy street in Philly--into a plastic bottle he had back there.
I'll never forget the young woman who couldn't hear me yelling at her to turn her music down, only to find out she was whacked out of her mind.
I'll never forget the interesting ride my wife and I had with a guy who paints commercial aircraft for a living. My wife works in aerospace, and previously in general aviation. Hearing about his contract work was pretty neat.
I'll never forget the older woman who only drives on Fridays to make enough money to go to the movies with her friends and buy popcorn. I was back-and-forth between home and away at the time, and she actually offered to let me join her and her friends at the movies that night because my wife was away and I had nothing better to do.
There are definitely forgettable rides. But I've had a good share of memorable ones myself.
It pays to be human.
Let's jump to Washington D.C. If you live in Northern Virginia or Maryland, you could take the Metro into town for a night out, but would almost certainly have a huge issue getting a cab driver to take you home.
Let's jump back to SF. North Beach to the Mission district. Separate sides of the town but without a cab, thats 2-3 bus transfers and forget even getting home late at night when it all stops running.
The accessibility aspect of Uber is massive. I don't think it's fair to discount that simply because the ride itself wasn't memorable...by that aspect, are airplane companies fake businesses? Does anyone really brag about the wonderful economy experience they have on Delta vs. United vs. American Airlines? Not really, but they certainly talk about the accessibility those services offer.
Uber can use better scheduling algorithms to ensure higher utilization factor of their fleet. If a taxi driver is driving 50% of the time and waiting for a fare other 50%, while Uber driver is driving 90% of the time and waiting 10%, the price for Uber ride could be lower while ensuring the same income level for the driver.
Admittedly, it is probably better to charge all vehicles for entering the most congested areas by their size (i.e. trucks pay more) than it is to pick and choose by artificially limiting just some types of vehicles while allowing unlimited numbers of others.
It's even worse, outsourcing maintenance, insurance, upkeep and whatnot to individuals is on the aggregate more expensive and time consuming than having a division of labour and a company who can manage these costs in bulk.
If you were disabled, or in an urban transit desert or underserved community, then ridesharing is the direct bringer of new B's. That's the reality for a ton of people. This is not fringe. Many people were underserved by taxi's before, and this is huge for them.
Im not a fan of uber nor lyft, although I have to say I like the competition they offer. I hope Tesla delivers their Robotaxi and slashes the whole taxi pricing game.
How come? It seems like a great company to me.
Oh, I don't know, maybe because every host on the planet will "share" their room/apartment/house at exhoribtant nightly rates in lieu of renting by the month, which leads to housing shortages for people who need a place to live vs. those who are going to visit X part of the world for a few days.
The Airbnb-ification of the world is decidedly interesting for owners, while for everyone else an added hardship whether or not you use the service.
That, and I firmly believe Uber still deserves to be punished for its past bad behavior on so many fronts. I used to feel for the people working there that didn't contribute to the problem, and worry that any punishment too draconian would hurt them, but Uber got away with stuff so bad for so long, that I think anyone that didn't vote with their conscience and try to find somewhere else to work was taking a calculated risk, and it's not a risk if there's no chance of a negative outcome, so they reap what they sow. Anyone that didn't make the choice to leave ended up contributing to the problem by allowing Uber to ignore the consequences.
The solution is improving contractor employment laws and services to reflect new reality of the economy (technology lowering the barrier to join a contractor or temp jobs increasing their quantity). Not trying to end something that's not going away and many people find useful but making being a contractor not being treat as the bastard child of employment but a standard means of work.
In Canada you can't get proper unemployment benefits if you're a contractor (and you don't have an option to volunteer into one, you'd have to do it yourself), so if you get seriously sick, as what happened to me, you're S.O.L. for even basic money and have to depend on family. Between that, universal healthcare coverage, and stricter rules on what's defined as a 'full-time job' and you'd eliminate most problems.
If you think that's bad, wait until you find out about the small business economy. Millions and millions of people run small businesses that end up losing money over the whole year and they have to pay for their own healthcare.
I can't wait until we legislate away these stupid people who currently have the autonomy to act as independent businesses.
The funny thing here is that, apparently, the "non employed employees" were still getting more than what they actually earned the company- which therefore isn't getting a nice cut, but rather a debt, from millions of transactions. So this looks like VC-founded low end jobs.
For me the issue is unreliability of Services like UberEats.
Remember how amazon was never profitable for years and everyone missed the boat on crazy upside. Remember Tesla ? Remember facebook and twitter before they started making money on ads ? Just because of 2 quarter loss you can’t expect uber to shut down. Not even close, their product teams are already figuring out where to get more money from.
Its a different deal If you hate uber and want it to shut down but otherwise this is business as usual. I can’t imagine my life without uber.
You literally can't imagine your life, if say, you lived in Vancouver?
Uber et al make convenient villains (and for I don't by any means think they are innocent), but we should also recognize the consequences of our collective choices.
Maybe UBI won't provide a livable income, but might enable "gig workers" to survive with a dignified standard of living.
I guess it’s possible that Uber does so badly financially, they cease to exist. I just find it really hard to imagine that they would be forced to raise prices enough to make the old days of taxis you hailed by waving your hands on the street come back. So to me, Uber doing badly is just bad news for their drivers.
If Uber were to "squeeze drivers", drivers would stop driving for them. They'd drive for Lyft. They'd drive for some other company. They'd stay home.
The supply would crash.
They have no choice but to raise prices.