• Algorithmic Prescription: A Franklin-inspired Critique of Algorithmic Management

    Author(s):
    Yasmin McDowell
    Editor(s):
    Kanishka Sikri (see profile)
    Date:
    2022
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/sfay-9808
    Abstract:
    In The Real World of Technology, Ursula Franklin characterizes technology as an agent that structures work and the people at work, to the detriment of the latter. This raises the question: What would Ursula Franklin say about the widespread adoption of algorithmic management? While algorithmic management helps employers improve efficiency and provides customers with immediate goods and services, it has a number of adverse effects on workers. This essay draws on three concepts from The Real World of Technology to guide an exploration of the impact of algorithmic management on workers. Franklin’s articulation of prescriptive technology helps to explain their loss of autonomy; her observations about asynchronicity illuminate how spatial and temporal fragmentation harms their well-being; and her reservations about the production model remind us where power lies in algorithmically-mediated work flows. Together, these concepts illustrate how algorithmic management facilitates prescriptive forms of labour and decreases opportunities for meaningful communication between workers, employers, and consumers. This essay incorporates academic and personal observations from the United States, Canada, Myanmar, and the United Kingdom.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Online publication    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    Attribution

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