Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Software Efficient

The consequences of human workers becoming just another piece in the long chain of an algorithm optimized for efficiency above all else

In Brooklyn, Sandianna Irvine often works “on call” hours at Ashley Stewart, a plus-size clothing store, rushing to make arrangements for her 5-year-old daughter if the store needs her. Before Martha Cadenas was promoted to manager at a Walmart in Apple Valley, Minn., she had to work any time the store needed; her mother “ended up having to move in with me,” she said, because of the unpredictable hours. Maria Trisler is often dismissed early from her shifts at a McDonald’s in Peoria, Ill., when the computers say sales are slow. The same sometimes happens to Ms. Navarro at Starbucks.

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Pandemic Endemic (#3,825)

My morning newspaper had a headline about how Starbucks is telling store managers to re-evaluate their scheduling policies. This is about so much more than just Starbucks and McDonald's. My friends and I work in Fortune 500 tech corps and it's happening to us, too. Look out, all you un-salaried American workers.

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