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Boss Ex Machina: Mapping and Understanding the Technological Transformation of Managerial Prerogatives in Workplaces Driven by Machines, Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms

Project description

Assessing the legality of tracking workers by a wristband

Machines enabled by AI are present in nearly every aspect of our lives. And the workplace is no exception. AI and algorithms play a prominent role from the prescreening and hiring of candidates to their onboarding and beyond. For instance, workers can receive instructions through a digital app and they can be tracked by a wristband collecting sensitive information. Employers can also use metrics and customer reviews to set variable remuneration. The EU-funded Boss Ex Machina project will map these practices, evaluate their legal compliance and assess the resilience of the existing normative framework at the EU level. The findings will shed light on how new technologies are digitising management and how this fits with labour regulations.

Objective

Machines, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms are reshaping work and power relationships in a large number of fields, with far-reaching societal and legal consequences. For instance, workers can receive instructions through a digital app, be tracked by a wristband collecting sensitive information, while employers can take screenshots on a smartphone and use metrics and customer reviews to set variable remuneration. Today, cyber-physical devices make it possible to implement new practices of organizing, executing, monitoring and evaluating employees’ performance – in each and every industry. These tools determine a “genetic mutation” of prerogatives legitimately exercised by bosses. While such technologies have the potential to create a flexible environment for workers and managers, they can also strengthen authoritative tendencies. This study will map new “boss ex machina” practices, evaluate their legal compliance, and assess the resilience of the existing normative framework at the EU level.
This work will be qualitative in nature and adopt an innovative and pragmatic approach, by reviewing concrete examples where these modern practices have been implemented. I will collect a number of cases showing how the tech industry, social partners and policy-makers are addressing this phenomenon; then, I will consider the impact of new technologies of digitized management on contractual templates, labour regulation and social institutions. Finally, I will examine if and how the legal framework can accommodate these models without stifling innovation. The resulting theory will serve as a timely regulatory fitness and performance study to evaluate policy interventions recently put forward or implemented by several governments and institutions. This project aligns with the European Commission approach to AI and robotics, and the multiple initiatives taken by EU institutions in the context of the Pillar of Social Rights aimed at building a sustainable future of work.

Coordinator

IE UNIVERSIDAD
Net EU contribution
€ 160 932,48
Address
CALLE CARDENAL ZUNIGA 12
40003 Segovia
Spain

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Region
Centro (ES) Castilla y León Segovia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 160 932,48