Digital transformation can contribute to Social Irresponsibility

This is year we can sense and watch the transition to the massification of digital business and big computing analytics. From a system thinking perspective there are mindful discussions how to properly design the solutions that are changing how enterprises, governments, are operating, how social interaction technology are creating flat organisations, as also as, how humans are becoming lazy and distracted by the increasing confidence transfer to information systems.
Luciano Floridi, a Manuel Castells contemporary, calls this new age the infosphere, the combination of the internet and computer technology that is revolutionising our lives and work, and points out that in the same way, cloud, mobile and social put the power in the hands of the consumer, rather than in the companies we engage in, to become entrepreneurs and support a must needed self-economy, also it suggests that the revolution is as much about issues of morality, privacy, identity and meaning as it is about technology and what the new ecosystem can do, both for us and against us.

I used UBER for the first time 3 weeks ago, I was really interested to figure it out how the brokerage system works and the only flaw I found it is the lack of granular accuracy of the GPS that must be improved, particularly, when you are located in designated pick-up locations at airports, plazas, and multiple intersections (when used again the system, I notice this is definitely an improvement area). From a consumer point of view, it is cheaper than use a regular taxy service, with brand new, clean cars and polite drivers. Value proposition accomplished.

When you decompose internally the business model from the drivers point of view, it surfaces a different reality. In some regions, where drivers don’t have access to credit, they end up or driving someone’s else vehicle – like the taxy companies – that suppress 60% of the fare, Uber takes another 20%, meaning that in the end, the driver keeps only 20% of the remaining value. The driver must also feeds the fuel, hence what it takes as a result of his work is close to a meaningless figure. This is close to induced modern slavery isn’t it? Of course that driver knows it all, but he continues to believe in the dream of making trough, rather than stay in a unemployed condition, or working for a classic taxy company.

In the end, some new digital transformation ventures, can be very promising and tear down outdated business models that consumers are not willing to pay for it anymore, but when you look it deeper, it is just a market power transfer to the new entrants against the incumbents. The so called self-economy can aggravate the social inequality and responsibility of a business. Everybody is contributing to it.

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