“Help, the business owner is using algorithmic management!”

“I changed my job to become a truck driver and my new boss is… an artificial intelligence spying on me 24/7!” (Photo: 123RF)

Stained job! This is the section where Oliver Schmocker answers your toughest questions [et les plus pertinentes] In the modern business world…and of course the quirks. Reading time Tuesday and the Thursday. Do you want to participate? Send us your question at mauditejob@groupecontex.ca

Q: I just changed my job to become a truck driver. I told myself that it would allow me to become 100% independent, with no permanent heads on my back. And what did you discover? How much worse! Mon employeur utilise ce qu’il appelle la “gestion algorithmique”, c’est-à-dire que mon boss immédiat n’est plus un humain, mais une intelligence artificielle qui me surveille tout le temps, chaque heure, chaque minute, chaque the second. Should I change employers to finally find human management or even change jobs? “ludo

A – Dear Ludo, I understand your disappointment with having a new Head of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but know that this is the growing trend in trucking today. Just because the law prevents trucking companies from driving their employees “for too long,” the idea is to avoid road accidents caused by fatigue. In this sense, AI is an effective and inexpensive alternative.

A recent study led by Antoine Bougould, a PhD student in human resource management at HEC Montreal, shows that today’s trucking companies use AI primarily for two things:

– control. Driving hours are recorded and calculated automatically. Data is also collected in real time (fuel consumption, speed, geolocation, vehicle diagnostics, charging status, etc.). “Driving is specifically monitored, depending on the habits of braking and acceleration, just to be able to improve it,” Antoine Bougould noted last week during a webinar on Computational Management organized by the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technology (OBVIA).

– Performance Management. Each truck driver’s performance can be evaluated on a daily or weekly basis. If the employer prefers, this can be done on an ongoing basis, with AI indicating in real time to the truck driver what he should do immediately to improve his work. “Of course, it is easy to compare the performance of truck drivers with each other,” the researcher emphasized.

calendar? Administrative evils multiply. According to the study, truck drivers generally experience a “profound sense of injustice,” “anxiety,” “stress,” “loss of trust in their employer,” “a sense of psychological complexity,” “a sense of disengagement from work,” and “a sense of dehumanization of the organization.” “. Which shouldn’t surprise you, Ludo, because a little bit of all of this comes in your email.

Pamela Lerio, professor of human resource management in the School of Industrial Relations at the University of Montreal, speaks frankly about “digital tellurism” about it. That is, reducing the worker to the simplest expression of his workforce, under the constant yoke of artificial intelligence. Thus, to a modern form of absolute exploitation of man in his daily work.

A stark example: platform workers, i.e. those who do piecework for a website, under the direct supervision of AI (Uber drivers, home cleaners, Amazon Turk mechanic workers, etc). They already represent 8% of Canada’s workforce, revealing the work of Benjamin Simujanga, who finished his Masters in Human Resource Management from HEC Montreal.

The question is clear: Is there a way to mitigate the negative effects of computational management?

Several studies are being conducted on this topic, particularly in Quebec. Recent work by Xavier Parent-Rocheleau, Professor of Human Resource Management at HEC Montreal, appears to point to three interesting ways:

– Transparency. Employees accept being managed by AI a little better if the employer takes the time to explain to them the “why” and “how” of this management approach. Because it contributes to reducing “occupational insecurity” (for example, the fear of being laid off by a bot that only looks at performance numbers), or even “information and authority asymmetry” (the employer has complete control over employee data, and the employee no longer has Which).

Management style. The business owner must adapt his management style so that adding AI is not seen as a “dehumanization” of HR, but as an “additional feature” that facilitates the work of HR managers.

– political organization. When governments begin to regulate the work of AI, the acceptance of workers is expected to improve dramatically. Because this should lead to ‘less stress’, ‘less anxiety’, or even ‘feeling less injustice’.

In short, Ludo, don’t look for a new job if you choose the one you like. Don’t look for another employer either, as artificial intelligence is set to take an increasing place in trucking. It is best, I think, to start a discussion with your employer and thus lead him to explain to you the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. Because, as we just saw, that would be a win for him and your teammates alike.

This is because progress is only worth it if everyone shares it. Indeed, American automaker Henry Ford said it himself: “Enthusiasm is the foundation of all progress.”


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