Nuber – The End Of Uber And Central Authority

recent study found that “drivers were finding ways to trick the algorithms that Uber uses to control them to cancel fares they didn’t want and to avoid the unpopular UberPOOL.” The same study found that drivers “also organize mass ‘switch-offs’ so the lack of drivers in a certain area causes surge pricing.”

This should surprise no one. Many Uber drivers feel (rightly or wrongly) that they are underpaid, overworked, and generally treated unfairly. The drivers have tried to unionize, they ad hoc collectively bargain, and they have vigorously campaigned on social media to protest their work conditions.

A Central Authority

At a macro level, they are not unhappy with Uber; they are unhappy being subservient to a central authority. This is not a new story. History is replete with tales of the oppressed proletariat rising up against their aristocratic overlords. Revolts of this type have not, historically speaking, ended well for the noble-born.

As I have previously written, “The entire Internet is highly centralized. Data are routed through trusted servers on trusted networks. You trust Google with your Gmail. You trust Facebook with your friends. You trust your online banker with your money. You trust your credit card and shopping data to Amazon. You trust Verizon when you access its network. To do business online today is to trust central entities with everything about you and your actions.”

What If There Was No Central Authority?

Here’s an idea … I’ll call it “Nuber.” You can think of it as a technology that offers all the value Uber offers, but the drivers get all the money. Here’s how it would work.

At Nuber, a licensed ride-sharing service driver (an individual with a local business license, a commercial driver’s license, and the required insurance) could be summoned through a meta-ride-sharing app and paid directly with no central authority such as Uber, Lyft, or Didi Chuxing. There would be no middleman, just you and a licensed, customer-reviewed driver. Nuber would work exactly like Uber, but all the value captured by Uber would be recaptured by the drivers. Great for the drivers, not so great for the central authority, Uber.

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Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, ...

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