“Does the problem you are trying to solve really matter to anyone?”

Organizing Theory

Need policy ideas on how to make your state or city more responsible for keeping black lives safe, or to track what presidential candidates have proposed, as far as police reform? Start here.

Mobilisation Lab takes a look at how distributed organizing has evolved in groups like Hollaback! & 350.org.

“Does the problem you are trying to solve really matter to anyone? Is the solution you propose realistic and effective?” On how activist tactics are being disrupted, in the 21st century.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

If you’re in the Bay Area, Fresno or Boston & are thinking about going solar, check out this new tool to let you know how much sun your roof might collect.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Apple is building a new AI into iOS 9, that will actually learn things about you and then keep them private (as all the work gets done on your phone, not some server in the cloud).

Could Google rig the 2016 election, through use of their search algorithm?

From Partners

In Philly? Why not come to this co-op brunch get-together, Saturday September 5th.

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

There may be storm & drang in the Washington Post about fast food restaurants installing robots…but here’s a Kebob shop in London that is cutting its meat with a machine.

Business for Social Responsibility issued a report this summer about the challenges of providing good jobs, in the age of automation.

“It’s not about the tool. It’s about the threat model.”

Organizing Theory

“It’s not about the tool. It’s about the threat model.” How can you keep your direct action organizing on track, when police are monitoring social media?

Really interesting interview about how the ethos of hacking has spilled over into other parts of the world, including the economy. “I don’t think the misfit economy is a blueprint for the new economy. I would have loved if it had been, but I think it’s really a set of skills for an economy in transition, which is where we’re at right now.”

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

Bob Solow, on how the Treaty of Detroit is being eroded by the casualization of the labor force.

“The prospect of being able to pay off the cost of a robot in slightly more than a year, Goldman Sachs says, has brought industrial automation to within the reach of China’s millions of small and medium-sized manufacturers, creating the conditions for a productivity surge.” Yep, the cost of buying an industrial robot can now be recouped in about 1.3 years.

This security bot is roaming the grounds of corporate campuses, and it only costs $6.25 per hour. Now that’s something to be scared about.

From Partners

Shout out to Keystone Research Center’s Steve Herzenberg, for this blog post he wrote after watching last week’s interview with Michelle Miller.

In SF? This Thursday, political startup Brigade is hosting a panel discussion with presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Microsoft has a bot that millions of Chinese users chat with, daily or more frequently. What’s unclear, is how long the server hangs on to both sides of the conversation.

“Web publishers and advertisers cannot be trusted with the amount of access that today’s browsers give them by default, and people are not obligated to permit their web browsers to load all resources or execute all code that they’re given.” On the ethics of online ads.

Geeking Out

I’m pretty sure the Musicians’ Union isn’t going to be happy about this—but the Pentagon is trying to teach an AI project to play jazz.

“Every day, I come to work scared and I leave work scared. That shouldn’t be my job or my life.”

Original Content

This week, I talked to coworker.org’s Michelle Miller, about her piece “The Union of the Future.” (Like our original content? Be sure to support us on Patreon!)

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

“Every day, I come to work scared and I leave work scared. That shouldn’t be my job or my life.” What it’s like to work in a Ladbroke’s gaming parlor in the UK.

Enjoy has invented a new approach to service jobs, combining elements of the gig economy with elements of full-employment.

Can Uber drivers game the app to create more surge pricing? Maybe.

Pacific & Standard Mag has just launched a new series on the Future of Work, which will run online between now and their November/December issue.

I confess, I don’t know anything about Scripted, whose CEO just wrote this piece. But who doesn’t need a comprehensive guide to starting online labor marketplaces?

From Partners

In development stage still, but looking for partners—HourVoice is launching a platform to empower workers and inform consumers about what companies are like to their employees.

Kudos to our friends from Amalgamated Bank, who just became the first bank in the country to guarantee every employee a $15/hour wage. (On a related note—isn’t it in my self-interest, as a bank customer, to have my bank tellers well compensated?)

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Political opinion app Brigade just announced that you will now be able to claim your voting record, and prove to elected officials that you’re a verified voter.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

A pilot project in LA is aiming at bringing low-pollution shared car service to low-income communities.

“Uber is now doing its best to look like Wal-Mart.” On the fight to deny Uber drivers class-action status in California.

Organizing Theory

Provo, Utah launched an experiment in online civic participation that successfully produced policy recommendations for their city council.

Geeking Out

A new iPhone accessory replaces a $20,000 piece of equipment used by eye doctors—and can allow people without access to an optometrist’s office analysis of their vision problems.

New online mag White Hot intends to cover “Capitalism with a Conscience,” among other things.

“It is a wonderful thing that machines can do our monotonous chores.”

Robot of the Week

dead hitchbot

Way back in July of 2014, I wrote about the robot hitchhiking across Canada. Sadly, this week, Hitchbot came to Philly, and it did not end well…

So long, Hitchbot, we hardly knew ye.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Google has launched a new way for you to support the sites you use every day—without being subjected to lots of ads.

Are you a tech worker who wants to start a co-op? Here’s your guide.

A university president becomes an Uber driver, and discovers that his city’s lack of public transit is the major force behind his riders’ needs.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

At what point do we get to disrupt the advertising industry? Former Guardian editor Charles Arthur points out that we didn’t all sign up to get tracked by advertisers on our phones, every time we click on an article.

From Partners

Anil Dash and Gina Trapani’s ThinkUp has a new site up today—it’s makerba.se, for tracking the things that people make online, and what tools they use to make them. I don’t think I yet understand how cool this will be, but I know it’s cool.

Geeking Out

Why yes, I would like a robot that can make me an egg sandwich in the morning…

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

“It is a wonderful thing that machines can do our monotonous chores.” Yup. Until they automate all the jobs you’ve ever had.

A factory in China has just launched with a workforce of more robots than humans. Let’s replace our fear of “Made in China” with a fear of “Made by Robots.” Except for egg sandwiches. I’m okay with those being made by robots, especially if they wash out the pan.

Silicon Ventures’ Nick Grossman, on some of the companies that are starting to try to solve the problems of the on-demand economy. Peers CEO Shelby Clark also weighs in on the need to figure out a way for on-demand economy workers to have security.

Cathy O’Neill takes on the real reasons we have a trucker shortage in the US. Hint—the solution is not to allow 18 year-olds to start driving long-haul routes.

The thorny world of salary transparency in Silicon Valley.