Thinkin' bout automated bosses

like Uber. Your “boss” is an algorithm that says “you get 4.7* or above, you can keep working; if not, you’re fired.”

Like, in a sense, great (as long as this algorithm is known); you get people to do the job right! If you don’t do the job, you’re out. Easy as that. In contrast, full-time jobs are super-sticky (esp in Europe, but even here in the US): it is very hard to fire someone.

Obviously the Uber route has these terrible effects on the drivers - they never know if they’ll be working tomorrow, they’re already in debt because they bought this car to drive for Uber and now they’re fired for some arcane reason (maybe even unknown reason), they’ve got to work 14 hours a day to meet the mandatory minimum number of rides or something.

But I’m wondering if the stickiness of full time jobs also helps companies. Like, if you join a new company full-time and then have a bad first couple months (because you’re trying to learn a new thing, or just getting to know the people, or you have a family emergency or something), you’re not fired; the company ideally finds a way to help you succeed, and then they’ve got a productive longer-term employee instead of having to start all over. This stickiness is a smoothing factor that helps the company think long term about you instead of short term.

(that, or stickiness does hurt companies, but we’ve just got too much pro-worker regulation here. I’m open to the argument, but it seems unlikely in 2017 America. hmm.)

Edit: now, there’s nothing about Uber that means they have to be so short-term thinking. You could imagine them taking your average rating after, say, your first year, and if it’s still not 4.7 by then, ok, now you’re out. But then you’ll have people who will milk it for a year, be crummy, and get paid for a year before they quit. And I guess office-job people are less likely to do this because they have more human connection and are not inclined to milk the system for all it’s worth.

(but then, current workers are not stunning examples of being super excited about their jobs anyway.)

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