Before replacing human workers, algorithms are already at workplaces with managerial powers
Dr. Başak Ozan Özparlak
The Age of Big Data, 4th Industrial Revolution, Second Machine Age, under all those headlines, mass media warns us against intelligent robots that might “take” the human jobs away soon. However, the reality today is a bit different. Before replacing human workers, algorithms are already at workplaces with managerial powers. From the beginning of an employment relationship, algorithms are used for hiring processes, to decide who can or cannot see a job ad, through the applicant selection procedures as well as to monitor the employees during work and even for the terminaion of the labour contracts. The information gathered through social media and surveillance of workers are used against them in the decision-making processes, in hiring, firing, and making essential differences in the employment contract. The bargaining power of the contracting parties of an employment contract is unbalanced in favour of the employer. Can we accept the consent as a legal basis in employment relations for data processing under data protection rules? The European Council therefore implies that the consent is absent when there are imbalanced relationships, as it is in employment, between the parties.
A need for fair and sustainable technology
At the end of the 20th century, capitalism has invented an ideal labour for itself: a cheap labour that is nearly equal to none-labour. And now before ending the first quarter of the 21st century, it has invented the digital economy and digital labour behind the rumours of robotic revolution. The most important legal discussions are the ones focusing on the digital surveillance of the workers if we want a fair labour market for all. I believe we have seen enough the consequences of unfair social standards during Covid19 crisis. If everyone cannot access to the health system, every individual will be affected by this inequality. As IBM announced this week that the company will no longer develop the facial recognition tools for general purposes which leads to discriminating mass surveillance, we need a fair and sustainable technology.
Basak Ozan Ozparlak (PhD) is a lawyer and a lecturer. She received the LLM degree in European Union Law and the Ph.D. in private law from Marmara University. She is currently a partner attorney at Ozan&Ozan Law Office and Part-Time Lecturer of Cyber Security, Blockchain and Law at Ozyegin University Faculty of Law She is the co-author of the book called “AI in Health Sciences” and the 6G Whitepaper on Trust, Security and Privacy under the coordination of 6G Flagship Center at Oulu University, Finland. Her research interests include legal implications of human-technology interactions, future of work, privacy and security.