All posts tagged: stability of a career

A Novel That Shows the Human Cost of Gig Work

A Novel That Shows the Human Cost of Gig Work

Technological development in the digital era has rapidly and irrevocably altered the way people relate and communicate. Joanne McNeil’s first book, Lurking: How a Person Became a User, is a critical history of the internet age, written from the perspective of the user. In it, she identifies an “operational clash of values between human ambiguity and machine explicitness,” concluding that “humanity is the spice, the substrate, that machines cannot replicate.” But as advances in AI in just the three years since Lurking’s publication demonstrate, this “spice” is becoming more and more replicable, especially when it comes to human writing. McNeil has now turned to fiction—perhaps one of the few forms AI cannot successfully write (yet)—to explore the human side of this technological drama. In her debut novel, Wrong Way, McNeil explores the impact of the race toward machine intelligence on a gig worker, Teresa, who is hired by the massive tech company AllOver. The novel exposes the way that gig work strips people of their humanity, rendering them interchangeable cogs. Because this sort of employment …