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Cracking the Black Box within the Platform Economy

Come along to The Melting Pot for an open discussion about citizens place in the intersection of data protection, AI tools and worker status in the digital platforms world.

Cracking the Black Box within the Platform Economy

About Cracking the Black Box within the Platform Economy

The so-called platform economy is all over the place! You may not be aware, but you use it often when listening to your favourite podcasts, searching for an affordable bed n' breakfast, requesting a pre-hired vehicle to return home, or ordering food on a Friday night.

However, how do these digital places work, and what power do they hold to be so present in our lives? We're cracking this black box on this roundtable, focusing on personal data rights, the consumer experience, and the role of the workers behind it. In this context, what does the intersection of data protection, AI tools and worker status mean for those employed in the gig economy? How vulnerable are we in our relationship with these platforms, both as consumers and citizens? And what socially innovative tools designed by workers have been created to ensure their autonomy under these circumstances?

Tickets available here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cracking-the-black-box-within-the-platform-economy

Speakers:

Karen Gregory (University of Edinburgh). Karen is a digital sociologist and ethnographer. Her work explores the nature and experience of self-employment in the digital economy with a focus on platform labour, risk, and precarity. She is the founder of the MSc in Digital Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also the Lead for the Digital/Data Research Theme in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. She is co-editor of the book Digital Sociologies (Policy Press 2016) and an Associate Editor at the Journal of Cultural Economy. She is currently at work on a project called "Delivering Edinburgh" which explores the embeddedness of on-demand delivery work in the city. Before coming to Edinburgh, she was a lecturer at The City College of New York, where she developed and ran The City Lab @ The Center for Worker Education.

Cailean Gallagher (The Workers Observatory). Dr Cailean Gallagher is editor of the Scottish Left Review and an Associate Lecturer at St Andrews University. He studies the way that changing technologies and systems of control affect the capacity of workers to collectivise and organise. This interest developed from his work as a trade union organiser and strategist supporting workers in precarious work and the gig economy. In 2020 he set up the Workers' Observatory with on-demand platform workers to watch changing work patterns and challenge the power asymmetry between them and platforms. He is co-author of Roch Winds: A Treacherous Guide to the State of Scotland.

What to expect from attending the AI & Social Innovation series:

Learn from experts on AI, data protection, cryptocurrency and more
Thought-provoking discussions about the future of AI
Meaningful connections with like-minded people
A delicious selection of coffee & tea at the arrival

About The Workers Observatory:

The Workers’ Observatory is an Edinburgh-based project to monitor new forms of work in the city and develop tools and tactics to take advantage of them.

Delivery riders, distribution drivers, care workers and app-based workers are everywhere. We see Edinburgh at work and we see it sleeping. We built the Workers’ Observatory to watch the city together, to collectively challenge conditions in self-employed and gig work, and to take control of our labour.

Companies use data and digital technologies to see everything from above: they want to create a panopticon. The Workers’ Observatory is a subopticon to share perspectives from below.

Corporate programmes and platforms are gathering unfathomable amounts of data about workers’ every move and using it to control and change the way that work is organised.

Meanwhile the COVID-19 crisis has increased the scramble for profit and intensified the evolution of working practices. The prevalence of gig work, self-employment, and casual work are all increasing. The Workers Observatory will equip on-the-ground surveillance of these changing realities.

It is a project led by workers, and involves members of STUC-affiliated unions as well the IWGB and IWW. It is supported by the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Trades Union Congress. It is coordinated by Cailean Gallagher, STUC campaigns officer, and its research agenda is supported by Karen Gregory, Lecturer in Digital Sociology at the University of Edinburgh.

About The Melting Pot:

The Melting Pot is Scotland's Centre for Social Innovation and one of the oldest coworking communities in the world. We offer freelancers, remote workers, small businesses and large organisations flexible, safe and creative solutions for this new era of working, from coworking space to venue hire.

We offer regular events for our community, from exciting talks with Scotland’s leading Social Innovators to practical help with your business. We love helping people meet, learn and connect so we make sure almost all our events are open to everyone.

Note: We know £8 might be a bit of a surprise to attend an event, but there’s a social innovation purpose to this price. We don’t only need to cover our staffing and preparatory costs for external events; we also reinvest a percentage of event profits back into fostering social innovation and impact in Scotland. Your ticket price, as well as any coworking membership or venue hire request, enables us to do that.

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