The Future of Work: Surviving in a 'Platform Economy'

The so-called platform economy promises to drastically change the nature of work. Is that a bad thing, or a good thing?

The Future of Work: Surviving in a 'Platform Economy'

Call it the "platform" or "gig" economy: the blending of powerful computing with the growth of networks, digitizing the means by which work is assigned and carried out. Uber and Airbnb are obvious examples, but there are an estimated 1,800 other active platforms today, with many more to come. What happens, though, when work is intermediated by a digital platform? What's the impact on wages, job security and other aspects of traditional employment? The Institute for the Future is looking for answers, in its Workable Futures Initiative. The idea is to spark a productive conversation about a trend that is in danger of outpacing our ability to understand its long-term impact on society. On this episode, we speak with Devin Fidler, research director for the Institute for the Future. He describes the work of the initiative, and its mission to discover the potential for “positive platforms.” He also discusses the implications of a system governed by algorithms, raising the possibility of a “self-driving” company that is managed entirely by software. In such a world, what’s the fate of the traditional American worker? Hosted by Bob Bowman, Managing Editor of SupplyChainBrain.

Look for a new episode of the podcast, which can be downloaded or streamed, every Friday on the SupplyChainBrain website and iTunes.

Show notes:

IFTF’s report: “Work Interrupted: The New Labor Economics of Platforms.”

Stream or download podcast here

Call it the "platform" or "gig" economy: the blending of powerful computing with the growth of networks, digitizing the means by which work is assigned and carried out. Uber and Airbnb are obvious examples, but there are an estimated 1,800 other active platforms today, with many more to come. What happens, though, when work is intermediated by a digital platform? What's the impact on wages, job security and other aspects of traditional employment? The Institute for the Future is looking for answers, in its Workable Futures Initiative. The idea is to spark a productive conversation about a trend that is in danger of outpacing our ability to understand its long-term impact on society. On this episode, we speak with Devin Fidler, research director for the Institute for the Future. He describes the work of the initiative, and its mission to discover the potential for “positive platforms.” He also discusses the implications of a system governed by algorithms, raising the possibility of a “self-driving” company that is managed entirely by software. In such a world, what’s the fate of the traditional American worker? Hosted by Bob Bowman, Managing Editor of SupplyChainBrain.

Look for a new episode of the podcast, which can be downloaded or streamed, every Friday on the SupplyChainBrain website and iTunes.

Show notes:

IFTF’s report: “Work Interrupted: The New Labor Economics of Platforms.”

Stream or download podcast here

The Future of Work: Surviving in a 'Platform Economy'

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