Edition: 2020
Pages: 248
Series: TN
ISBN: 9788858141298

Your boss is an algorithm. Against inhuman labour

Antonio Aloisi - Valerio De Stefano


Hart Publishing (World English); RedSalt Books (Korean); Crete UP (Greek)



Whenever you wonder about the consequences of automation, you should keep your feet on the ground and look around yourself. There is in fact the possibility that, before "stealing" our work, technologies have grabbed that of our boss.

New technologies can offer formidable opportunities for growth and benefit for workers, businesses and societies at large. So far, however, much of their benefits have been largely been captured by few economic actors and in particular tech giants adopting a winner-takes-it-all approach. This has created a backlash that is manifested also through the rise of populist parties and candidates. To invert the trend and ensure that the whole society reaps the benefit of digital innovation, we must govern technologies instead of accepting as a given any new advance. When it comes to work, this means ensuring that new technologies are adopted after involving workers and the social partners, including unions and employers’ association, in the decision on if and how introduce new technological tools and organisational devices at the workplace. Platform work, gig-economy and employment regulation, the impact of artificial intelligence on workplaces and the emergence of algorithmic management and workplace surveillance: contrary to preliminary analyses forecasting the threat of human work obsolescence, this book demonstrates that digital tools are more likely to substitute for managerial roles and ease organizational processes in workplaces, rather than opening the way for mass job displacement. Much less attention, instead, has been devoted so far in literature to the digitization of the employers’ key functions, on the one hand, and to the quality and content of jobs that will be affected (and yet not made redundant) by the introduction of smart machines, artificial intelligence and algorithms. This book represents a broadening of the individual and collective dynamics of platform work. While platform-mediated work can be seen as a site of experimentation, its most extreme aspects are spreading well beyond this sector.

The authors

Antonio Aloisi

Antonio Aloisi is Assistant Professor of Labour Law at IE Law School, IE University, Madrid. He is also a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, having been awarded a Horizon 2020 research grant by the European Commission for his “Boss Ex Machina” project about algorithmic management (https://bossexmachina.ie.edu/). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence. He holds a doctorate in business and social law (2018) from Bocconi University, Milan, where he also taught at the School of Law and in the second-cycle degree course in Law of Internet Technology. He published numerous articles about labour regulation and technology and platform work in top international law journals, and was a consultant for several international institutions.

Personal page: https://www.ie.edu/law-school/faculty-research/faculty/antonio-aloisi/

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Valerio De Stefano

Valerio De Stefano is the BOFZAP Professor of Labour Law at the KU Leuven, Belgium, where he is also the principal investigator of two major grants about labour regulation and platform work awarded by the Research Foundation Flanders and the EU Commission Horizon 2020 scheme. At the KU Leuven he coordinates a group of young labour researchers. He read law at Bocconi University, Milan, where he obtained his PhD cum laude in 2011. He published numerous articles about platform work, artificial intelligence and labour, algorithmic management. He also guest-edited several special issues of top academic journals on these subjects. He held visiting positions in various universities across the world and acted as a consultant for several international institutions.

Personal page: https://www.law.kuleuven.be/arbeidsrecht/medewerkers/destefano_kort

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