When Your Boss Is An Algorithm. And It Doesn’t Pay Fairly.

In a recent paper, University of California College of Law Professor Veena Dubal said rideshare apps promote ‘algorithmic wage discrimination’ by personalizing wages for each driver based on data they gather from them.

Two brothers who drive for Uber recently conducted an experiment. They opened their Uber apps while sitting in the same room, and tested which brother could earn more money to do the same work.

In a video published on The Rideshare Guy YouTube channel, the brothers recorded themselves looking for rides on the app. They found that Uber showed them nearly identical jobs, but offered to pay one of them a little better. The siblings could only guess why. Had Uber’s algorithm somehow calculated their worth differently?

University of California College of the Law professor Veena Dubal says that’s exactly what’s going on. In a recent paper, she says rideshare apps promote “algorithmic wage discrimination” by personalizing wages for each driver based on data they gather from them. The algorithms are proprietary, so workers have no way of knowing how their data is being used, Dubal says.

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