“Technology makes it all so easy. You just pull out your phone and bailing is as easy as canceling an Uber driver.”
The response is symptomatic of a deeply entrenched desire to use a communal form of punishment against those who are perceived as straying from established ideological positions. It’s practically a reflexive response at this point to find somebody to attack. Why do headlines like “Can Taylor Swift call herself a feminist after skipping Women’s March?” even exist (and there are other versions of this kind of story)? These kind of responses do not reflect a desire or a willingness to “live and let live.” Even in an environment where the left is struggling to maintain influence, they’re calling out allies for not showing up for marches or for employing poor people, minorities, and immigrants in a way that doesn’t match the progressive playbook.
Uber is efficiency with elegance on top. That’s why I buy an iPhone instead of an average cell phone, why I go to a nice restaurant and pay a little bit more. It’s for the experience.
Who knows what could happen in the long term? Uber could start using self-driving cars made by Google (one of its investors) to eliminate the need for human drivers, driving down its costs even more. It could introduce a near-instantaneous delivery service to rival Amazon’s drones. It could roll out a subscription service, akin to Amazon Prime, that would include perks like predictive transportation, so that, for example, when Uber sees an appointment on your Google calendar for a cross-town meeting, it sends a car to your office automatically at the right time …
The result of Uber’s efforts, in other words, could be the creation of a techno-metropolis, in which people and goods are ferreted around seamlessly and, perhaps, automatically. It would be like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Uber’s plan is to outgrow its car-service roots, and become, as investor Shervin Pishevar put it, ‘a digital mesh’ capable of providing all kinds of transportation and logistical services to people in the cities it serves. Once it has you summoning cars from your phone, the logic goes, it can use that same back-end technology to hook you in for all other kinds of deliveries — food, clothes, Christmas trees. And eventually, like Amazon, it can become something akin to an all-purpose utility — it’ll just be a way you get things and go places.
Uber is about orchestrating and projecting a baller experience; Lyft is about wacky serendipity that comes with hopping in strangers’ cars.
At present we rank photos, rate restaurants, like or dislike brands, retweet things we love. But if this idea of collaborative consumption takes hold — and I have no reason to think it won’t — we will be building a quantified society. We will be ranking real humans. The freelance workers — like the Uber drivers and Postmates couriers — are getting quantified. The best ones will continue to do well, but what about the others, the victims of this data darwinism? Do they have any protection or any rights?