“It is, as a result, not too hard to imagine a future in which massive digital platforms like Uber have an appetite for tens of millions of workers — not only for ferrying people, but also for delivering food and retail goods. Nor is it hard to imagine workers’ obliging them, perhaps because their skills do not match the needs of more traditional employers, or because they need to supplement their wages.
In such an economy, experts say, using big data and algorithms to manage workers will not simply be a niche phenomenon. It may become one of the most common ways of managing the American labor force.
“You have all these players entering into this space, and the assumption is they’ll do it through vast armies of underemployed people looking for extra hours, and we can control every nuance about what they do but not have to pay them,” said David Weil, the top wage-and-hour official under President Barack Obama.
When you stop to consider the enormous cost advantages, Mr. Weil said, “it says to me this is an area that will grow fast.”
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