The digital age of distributed communication and information systems has enabled our world to be connected by invisible and intangible wires, which have transformed our society into a digitalised networked society. Not only has our networked society changed our world perception and culture, it has also significantly contributed to our role as liquid labourers.
Before the digital age, the labour workforce was largely characterised as industrial manual work as work was set to the rhythm of the machine. After all, one could not work without the machine. However, the 21st century has seen the development of the liquid workforce. With the rise of decentralised and distributed information networks and technologies, we now work as chronic knowledge labourers as we engage in the process of chronically sorting information flows. This means that our style of work is set to the flow of information and online markets which, unlike the machines, can never switch off or stop. With the ability to connect and generate information in real time from anywhere in the world, we no longer need to be confined within four walls to produce information or get work done; we can work from anywhere at anytime from a contemporary (non)space workplace. Thus time restrictions and geographic barriers can no longer restrict our ability to work.
This reconfiguration of the workplace has blurred the lines between work life and private life. We are now liquid labourers as we have flexibility with what we produce and how we produce in real time.
Listen to the podcast to learn about how companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Facebook have contributed to the development of the liquid workforce and rely on our labour to generate profit.
Hern, A 2015, ‘Facebook is making more and more money from you. Should you be paid for it?’, The Guardian, 25 September, viewed on 18 August 2016, < https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/25/facebook-money-advertising-revenue-should-you-be-paid>
Libert, B, Wind, Y, Beck, M, 2014, ’What Airbnb, Uber, and Alibaba have in Common’, Harvard Business Review, 20 November, viewed on 18 August 2016, < https://hbr.org/2014/11/what-airbnb-uber-and-alibaba-have-in-common>
Mitew, T, 2014, ‘Liquid Labour’, University of Wollongong, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3M9x_UJkoo>