Beyond the gig economy: "platform co-ops" that run their own apps

I've written about Up & Go before: that's the worker-owned co-op of home cleaners in New York City that has built a version of the on-demand economy that keeps the convenience but jettisons the predatory capitalists, and as a result, is able to pay its workers $25/hour. Read the rest

Mozilla's Internet Health Report: discriminatory AI, surveilling smart cities, ad-tech

Every year, the Mozilla Foundation releases a massive "Internet Health Report" summarizing the ways in which the internet is being used to both support and subvert human thriving; though these reports cover a wide range of topics, every year the foundation chooses a small number of themes to focus on. This year, they are Let's Ask More of AI; The Power of Cities and Rethinking Digital Ads. Read the rest

Platform cooperativism (or, how to turn gig-economy jobs into $22.25/hour jobs)

Frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson (previously) has a great short piece in this month's Wired about platform cooperativism: replacing parasitical Silicon Valley companies that sit between workers and their customers with worker-owned co-ops that take the smallest commission possible in order to maintain the apps that customers and workers use to find each other. Read the rest

Come see me at UCLA tonight and then with John Scalzi on Sunday at the LA Times Festival of Books!

Tonight, I'll be one of the participants at LA Cryptoparty and README's After Disruption event at UCLA from 7-930PM; it's a panel and workshop on "Big Tech, the future of labor, and how systems have successfully been co-opted in the past." Read the rest

Socal! I'll be in Burbank on April 7, San Diego on April 11 and UCLA on April 12

I've got a couple of hometown appearances coming up, including a rare west-side event: on Sunday, April 7 at 4PM, I'll be at Burbank's Dark Delicacies for a final signing in their old store before they occupy their new digs around the corner, and then I'm taking off my writer hat and putting on my activist hat to do two more events in the area. Read the rest

Big Tech loves disruption, when they're doing the disruption

My latest Locus Magazine column is "Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me," and it analyzes how Big Tech has been able to "disrupt" incumbent industries, but has repurposed obscure technology regulations to prevent anyone from meting out the same treatment to their new digital monopolies. Read the rest

Electrification 2.0: Rural broadband co-ops are filling the void left by indifferent monopolists

Writing in Wired, frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson praises the rise of rural broadband co-operatives that are springing up to provide internet access to their far-flung, widespread communities, comparing them to the rural electrification co-ops that sprang up to provide power to farmers neglected by the monopolistic Edison trusts. Read the rest

How depending on a platform is a ticket to financial ruin, and what to do about it

UC Berkeley economist J Bradford DeLong's wide-ranging Reinvent interview covers a lot of ground, but is especially fascinating on the long-term trajectory of small businesspeople who bet their commercial futures on platforms -- he uses Uber drivers as an example, but this has implications in lots of sectors. Read the rest

Jeremy Corbyn: damned right we're a threat to the economic order

Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond called the Labour Party an "existential challenge to our economic model"; to which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, that is "absolutely right" and that Labour would destroy the current model, which "allows homelessness to double, 4 million children to live in poverty and over a million older people not getting the care they need." Read the rest

Small town Uber driver quits, launches a one-driver rival

Suzanne Ashe was the only Uber driver in Haines, Alaska, and the app wouldn't let her stay logged in and available because the rides came so infrequently. Read the rest

Uber threatens to leave Seattle if drivers can unionize; drivers rejoice

The City of Seattle voted to allow Uber drivers to form a union, and Uber says that if its court challenge to the rule is unsuccessful, it might leave Seattle. Read the rest

Proposal: turn Twitter into a user-owned co-op

Though Twitter brings in a hell of a lot of money, it's not enough to satisfy the company's investors, who are said to be contemplating a sale to Google or Salesforce; in The Guardian, Nathan Schneider moots the possibility of turning Twitter into a co-operative platform. Read the rest