Digital labour and precariousness
In recent decades, there have been significant changes in the world of work also due to technological evolution. Increasing digitalization has opened up new opportunities, but it has also raised important issues regarding precariousness, workers’ rights and the need for a universal income. To this end, it will be very useful to report on the analysis of Antonio Casilli, sociologist and author of the book (2019). En attendant les robots. Enquête sur le travail du clic [Waiting for Robots. An Inquiry Into Digital Labor]. Éditions du Seuil. “.
Digital labour, a new paradigm.
Digital labour does not simply refer to work activities that involve the use of digital technologies, such as computers, the Internet, and mobile devices. Antonio Casilli defines its characteristics in these terms:
Digital labour refers to a series of precarious and poorly paid occupations that rely on the use of data and are managed via digital platforms. This type of work is characterized by fragmented micro-activities, often carried out on demand in real time through the intermediation of algorithms. It should not be confused with the work done by computer engineers or data scientists, which are separate professions. Digital work, on the other hand, is a collection of menial and poor jobs, exposing workers to precarious conditions without offering significant career opportunities.
There are three main categories of digital work:
on-demand work, which is done on demand in real time, such as Uber drivers or delivery drivers;
work on platforms, which involves the use of digital platforms to offer services or products;
and finally crowdsourcing work, which leverages the participation of a large online community to complete specific tasks.
These forms of digital work are often characterised by low pay and precarious working conditions.
This type of work has become increasingly widespread, allowing new forms of employment and apparent work autonomy. However, digital work involves precarious conditions, lack of protection and insufficient pay, conditions that have led to the emergence of the phenomenon of digital precariousness.
Precariousness, a challenge for workers.
Precariousness in the digital environment is characterized by unstable employment contracts, lack of job security and inconsistent wages. The workers face global competition, deadlines pressure and a lack of fundamental rights. This precariousness has a negative impact on the quality of life and economic stability of workers.
To meet the challenges of precariousness and automation, some proposals suggest the implementation of a universal income. Universal income is a guaranteed periodic payment to all citizens, regardless of their employment situation. This approach aims to provide an economic basis of safety for all, enabling workers to pursue more sustainable job opportunities and engage in valuable sectors not recognised by the market.
Antonio Casilli’s analysis: click slaves and workers’ rights.
Antonio Casilli, sociologist and scholar of new technologies, has closely examined the phenomenon of “click slavery” in the context of digital work. He argues that many digital workers are exploited through online platforms that force them to perform repetitive and poorly paid tasks. Casilli highlights the need to regulate these platforms and guarantee fundamental rights, such as fair pay and adequate social protection for digital workers.
The world of work is going through a radical transformation with the advent of digital. Although it offers new opportunities, digital work also presents significant challenges such as precariousness and the absence of workers’ rights. The universal income proposal is a solution to ensure greater economic security for all citizens. At the same time, it is crucial to regulate digital work and protect workers’ rights. Through the analysis of experts such as Antonio Casilli, we can hope to achieve greater equity in the digital work land scape.