Today, androids are far beyond our technological capabilities. So what the Valley did was build it lean.
Rather than building artificial laborers, the tech industry invented artificial supervisors.
The human needs of the laborers are invisible to the software.
The software becomes an abstraction around real humans, but the owners of the business never need see them or interact with them in a supervisory context. Rows in a db.
No one has to look them in the eye when they’re fired. No one need think of their kids or dependent parents.
No one has to worry about a thing—except the workers.
They are raw material to be optimized.
Software perfectly shields the humans profiting from this one-sided equation from confronting the personal toll it takes on the algorithmically disposable people the company is chewing through.
They could hide away, pop out to interact with the drivers IF THEY WANTED, and go back into hiding again, and the machine kept working either way.
This is also an outcome of an unequal economy. You can’t treat workers as disposable if they they have more appealing, more reliable, more humane alternatives.
The gig economy depends on economic desperation and limited opportunity.
But it illustrates how this industry can use software to extract value from vulnerable populations with limited recourse.
We have a lot of work to do to make this right for people.
Automation can be used to hide our cruelty from view.
But we’re still responsible for it.