Alex Rosenblat

Researcher/Technical Writer in New York

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Alex Rosenblat is a technology ethnographer who works as a Researcher & Technical Writer at Data & Society. She studies automation, labor, and work. That's a fancy way of saying she researches how technology is changing the way we do our jobs. She writes about her findings in academic journals and in media outlets.

Current Project:

Through qualitative research in online forums and through interviews, she studies how Uber and Lyft drivers manage their work in semi-automated workplaces across varied regions in the U.S. and Canada.

pingalex@datasociety.net or @mawnikr

Recent Academic Outputs:

Rosenblat, A., & Stark, L. (2016). Algorithmic Labor and Information Asymmetries: A Case Study of Uber’s Drivers. International Journal Of Communication, 10, 27.

Working Papers:

Rosenblat, A. Levy, K., Barocas, S., & Hwang, T. (2016). Discriminating Tastes: Consumer Ratings as Vehicles for Bias. Presented on Sept. 22, 2016, at The Platform Society, Oxford Internet Institute.

Plot: Consumer-sourced rating systems can be a backdoor for bias and employment discrimination, but there aren't a lot of legal recourses available to independent contractors. We make a bunch of recommendations for platforms that want to do it for social equity reasons, though!

Bonus: Best Paper Prize. Thanks, Oxford!

Rosenblat, A. and Hwang, T. The Wisdom of the Captured. Sept, 2016.

Plot: When you get personalized recommendations from data-centric, crowd-sourced systems, like Google Maps, are you getting the best rec according to the info the system has gathered already, or are you being sent on an exploratory mission to gather intel?

Recent articles by Alex:

Harvard Business Review: What Motivates Gig Economy Workers

Harvard Business Review: The Truth About How Uber’s App Manages Drivers

The Rideshare Guy: How Can Wage Theft Emerge in App-Mediated Work?

Motherboard: Uber's Drive-By Politics

Motherboard: Phantom Cars

Press Coverage Highlights:

New Scientist - Do Uber ratings let passengers discriminate against drivers?

The Wall Street Journal - At Uber, the Algorithm Is More Controlling Than the Real Boss

MIT Technology Review -When Your Boss Is an Algorithm

Recent Talks:

Workshop on Data & Algorithmic Transparency, NYU Law

The platform economy at work: How drivers and riders experience Uber, ICOS Lecture Series, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

A Case Study of Uber's Drivers: How employment structures and hierarchies emerge through software, at Harvard University & at MIT

  • Work
    • Data & Society