Hi, welcome to media/pool. I am Xu Luyan.
In this video, I will be talking about digital labour’s role in communicative capitalism.
This is the structure of my content today. Communication increasingly plays a productive
role in generating values, thus forming the communicative capitalism where labour has
been transformed into immaterial or cognitive labour. Let us move on two examples of digital labour
in communicative capitalism. Uber was founded in 2009. Its estimated revenue for 2015 was
$10bn. Airbnb was launched in 2008 and its global expansion has led to some valuing the
company at $20bn. Communication is no longer a process of information flow but also can
produce practical values in reality. As Marazzi has stated, workers are increasingly
no longer using wholly external machinery but their inner capacities like creativity
and the capacity for communication. As a result, space and time for work become flexible and
we do not have to sit in our office with our colleagues. However, precariousness like a state of isolation,
excessive control and unpaid labour increasingly happens in workplace. Firstly, workers may
feel isolated due to the lack of the sense that being in the collective. Secondly, the
transformation of information and labour also makes the call centre which is heavily controlled
by computers. Even toilet breaks are strictly controlled measured by activity at the computer
which will affect the worker’s performance assessment. In fact, the workers just repeat
the same rote phrases and even become the working machines, which makes the cognitive
labour not “cognitive” any more. Thirdly, the form of immaterial labour leads to a crisis
of measurement because the work cannot be measured easily through time or labour spent.
Increasingly working with mobile devices also makes it harder to measure worker’ work
because a 24/7 environment has the semblance of a social world. Workers’ leisure time
tends to be interrupted by the texts or the emails which becomes more fragmented that
before. Therefore, the problem of unpaid immaterial labour including the unpaid internships becomes
quite serious in communicative capitalism. In addition, factories like Foxconn have witnessed
shocking numbers of suicides in recent years. Suicide in the workplace is a growing concern
which does not merely happen in China. According to Berardi, loneliness and lack of concern
are simultaneously the cause of suicide in workplace. When we show our fetish to the flexibility
that technology brings, do not ignore the precariousness it brings as well. That’s all from me for now. If you enjoyed
this video, please click like and subscribe below, leave a comment and check out other
videos. This has been me, Xu Luyan for Media/Pool. Thanks for watching! Bye!