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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Dec 3, 2018

Silicon Valley technology is transforming the way we work, and Uber is among the startup companies leading the charge. Technology ethnographer Alex Rosenblat lent us a wealth of firsthand perspective on the subject to share insight from her book Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work. She spotlighted Uber’s remarkable new template for employment using algorithms and internet platforms, upending our understanding of work in the digital age.

Rosenblat chronicled the stories of drivers in more than twenty-five cities in the United States and Canada over four years, shedding light on their working conditions and providing a window into how they feel behind the wheel. She highlighted Uber’s outsized influence around the world, revealing how the billion-dollar company is now influencing everything from debates about sexual harassment and transportation regulations to racial equality campaigns and labor rights initiatives. Join Rosenblat for a ride beyond the headlines to explore the complicated politics of popular technologies that are transforming the future for workers and consumers alike.

Alex Rosenblat is a technology ethnographer. A researcher at the Data & Society Research Institute, she holds an MA in sociology from Queen’s University and a BA in history from McGill University. Her writing has appeared in media outlets such as the New York Times, Harvard Business ReviewThe AtlanticSlate, and Fast Company.

Recorded live at University Lutheran Church by Town Hall Seattle on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.