March 03, 2015 at 02:04PM
"[I]sn't 'monetizing downtime' a hellish vision of the future of work?" Uber-ization of work. #readingToday  

"These services are successful because they are tapping into people's available time more efficiently," Dr. Sundararajan said. "You could say that people are monetizing their own downtime." Think about that for a second; isn't "monetizing downtime" a hellish vision of the future of work?

"I'm glad if people like working for Uber, but those subjective feelings have got to be understood in the context of there being very few alternatives," Dr. Reich said. "Can you imagine if this turns into a Mechanical Turk economy, where everyone is doing piecework at all odd hours, and no one knows when the next job will come, and how much it will pay? What kind of private lives can we possibly have, what kind of relationships, what kind of families?"

The on-demand economy may be better than the alternative of software automating all our work. But that isn't necessarily much of a cause for celebration.

New technologies have the potential to divide a variety of traditional jobs into tasks that can be assigned to people just when they're needed.