When people say “Your reputation precedes you,” they don’t generally mean at the speed of light. But taxi drivers for San Francisco‘s popular Uber service are having the experience of being quickly and harshly judged by their app-overlord—and they don’t like it. In an unusual superposition of the real and the virtual, a group of about 30 Uber drivers protested outside the app maker’s headquarters a couple of weeks ago. “They’re running a sweatshop with an app,” Raj Alazzeh, a driver acting as the group’s spokesman told All Things D.
Om Malik wrote about the phenomenon recently and called it “Data Darwinism.” He meant that in our emerging “quantified society” with an on-demand workforce, survival of the fittest also means the firing of the low-rated. Alazzeh claimed that 500 drivers were removed from the service in February and replaced, in some cases, with non-union drivers. The disruptions of the application-driven economy will be far reaching, Malik observes, but “the challenges of the connected future are less technical and more legislative, political and philosophical.”