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Investigation by Julien Sipra

Summary

The 2010s saw the bloom and expansion of a digital economy thanks to a universe of countless platforms like Wikipedia, Amazon, Mechanical Turk, Leboncoin, Airbnb, Uber, BlaBlaCar, etc. These diverse companies grew as mediators between clients and workers for the “gig economy”, represented by an array of avatars, of which bike-delivery names like Deliveroo, Foodora or UberEats are but a few examples. They shoot through the city; a bustling cavalry of wheels and colors whinnying along our sidewalks, galloping through the streets and resting bridled in our parking spaces. The landscape is known, however the bodies are not. What does it actually mean to be a bike courier? Who does it, when, where, how? And what does it mean to be remote controlled by your phone, living at the rate of an algorithm? What do these applications actually apply? An investigation to find out more, reporting from the field, pedals underfoot and smartphone in hand; reporting from the other side of the platform. An investigation as performance…

[ 1 ]

This is not the only one I can think of but the only one that I will discuss here. Generally speaking, the survey carried out examines what contributes to the calculation of related parties, but is mainly concerned with delivery personnel, via the algorithm, who work for delivery platforms, throughout the entire delivery process; proceeding chronologically: the ‘before’ of data and conditions, the ‘during’ which are the operations, and the ‘after’ which means results and effects. I made the deliberate choice not to deal with the socio-economic issues raised by these precarious work models, the so-called “Uber economy” or gig-economy. This has already been done many times and in more legitimate form. Readers who are curious to know more can refer to the positions and reports by Collectif des livreurs autonomes de Paris (CLAP) and the cooperative platform Coopcycle, amis.

[ 2 ]

The Algorithm Multiple, the Algorithm Material: Reconstructing Digital Creative Practice – Elizabeth Goodman & Laura Devendorf

[ 3 ]

Algorithms as culture: Some tactics for the ethnography of algorithmic systems – Nick Seaver

[ 4 ]

The Art of Computer Programming – Donald Knuth

[ 5 ]

The metaphor has been on everyone’s lips since the publication of The Black Box Society. The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information – Frank Pasquale

[ 6 ]

Le cycliste topographe – Frédéric Bonnet

[ 7 ]

Foodora announced on August 3, 2018, that is will no longer be operating in France, whereas Deliveroo is using, since June, a new wage system similar to that of UberEats, made up of a fixed part and a part that varies depending on the distance.

It started like this: one Sunday evening during a freezing winter, I’m biking to my start zone to “meet up with the community of riders”, that is, after having already clicked a while ago on the button ‘apply now and you can start tomorrow’. Tomorrow meaning 45 days later. 45 days to upload papers, confirm…

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