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Blog Posts (77)

  • Panel: Worker Insights & Charting a Better Path for Workplace AI

    In Partnership on AI's webinar, "Worker Insights & Charting a Better Path for Workplace AI" on Wednesday, October 12, PAI's Research Scientist for the Shared Prosperity Initiative Stephanie Bell presented the results of an international study with workers on their experiences of AI, and opportunities to improve job quality and business outcomes by increasing worker voice and participation in the development and deployment of workplace AI. In this panel debate, Dr Christina Colclough from The Why Not together with Dr. Laura Nurski (Research Fellow & Program Lead, Future of Work, Bruegel), were asked to comment on the study. AI and Job Quality - Insights from Frontline Workers The report is well worth a read. It highlights: The way workplace AI’s organizational function and use, and the status of the workers using it—not its technology type—shapes outcomes for workers The importance of inclusive governance and increasing worker voice in AI development and deployment, both for improved job quality for workers and business outcomes for employers The common disconnects between technological needs perceived by AI creators and purchasers (e.g., senior company leadership), and the needs identified by frontline workers who use these technologies The need for better public education, especially for workers and managers, on workplace AI systems and their potential impacts The connections to current and proposed legislation related to AI & work (including the EU’s GDPR and AI Act), and recommendations for policymakers to take action on these issues. Many of these insights mirror the Why Not lab's work with unions and the policy changes we recommend. Check what Colclough had to say at 33.33 minutes and forward. Kick back and watch the video, but also do read Laura Nurski's newest paper: "The impact of artificial intelligence on the nature and quality of jobs" - it is excellent.

  • Training Bargaining Officers - summary from Peru

    This article was written by Mayra Castro, Public Services International Inter-Americas. "As trade unionists, we cannot accept that ‘the system’ is more important than the workers" This statement was made by Christina Colclough during her presentation on the fundamentals of data, artificial intelligence and algorithms in society and at work at PSI's workshop on collective bargaining on digitalisation for negotiators and trade union leaders that took place in Lima on October 16-17. The Covid-19 pandemic forced everyone to adapt to a new reality in which work and most day-to-day activities moved to the virtual world. Even in the case of professions for with we never imagined this would be possible, including health care and basic education, were moved to the digital world. While this reality existed before the pandemic, it was accelerated and intensified, making the big tech companies even more profitable while workers had to learn how to demand their rights in this new reality. Governments around the world are implementing digital solutions using new technologies with little oversight or accountability. Christina presented the basic concepts of data and algorithmic systems in our society and at work, "it is the trade union movements, especially those in the public sector, that have the greatest capacity to advance the debate about the power of large digital companies". Digitalisation of public services is already a reality in many countries and trade unions must work to protect workers' rights so that digital transitions are transparent and inclusive, without letting the systems overtake them. "As trade unionists we cannot accept that ‘the system’ is more important than the workers," said Cristina. While presenting the definition of an algorithm and how its systems work on the basis of data, Cristina reminded us that in the end, it is we humans who determine what algorithms should do, and therefore it is up to trade unions to question their use and demand a more transparent and fairer implementation. It is also up to trade unions to negotiate the right to our data and data protection. "Data is about power; we have to understand that there is power in data. So we have to think about how we deal with that power in trade unions and how to make those that hold and control data more accountable," said Christina. A solution to this reality, according to Christina, is that "we have to reshape the digitalisation of work and workers. We, as trade unions, can say that some technologies are good, but we can't do that without reshaping digitalisation. We are being commodified. We must also protect our right to be human." Unions must negotiate how the data is collected; why and by whom it is analysed; where the data is stored and who has access to it; and at the last stage ask where it ends up after it has been used (offboarding). "The solution to data ownership and the benefits of data is data taxation. We need to stop quantifying people. I hope that we can limit this through collective bargaining," she explained. Christina presented a guide for the establishment of collective bargaining for the co-governance of algorithmic systems, which includes questions trade unionists can as during the implementation of digital systems in workplaces. Priority areas include transparency, accountability of the tools, right to redo, data protection and rights, threats and benefits, whether it is possible to make adjustments to the tool, and finally co-governance. Digital Bargaining Hub PSI’s Digital Bargaining Hub was presented at the end of the workshop. The hub is an online resource for trade unionists and others interested in promoting workers' rights through collective bargaining. It helps users to understand key issues related to the digitalisation of work, and includes real-world bargaining clauses and language that can be adapted and used at the bargaining table. "We have categorised the information into key topics and subtopics with commentary to help unions find what they need. The information can also be accessed through the database of existing clauses and model texts collected from unions around the world," explained Hanna Johnston, an expert who supported the creation of the Hub. The issue of digitalisation at PSI Gabriel Casnati, PSI project coordinator responsible for the digitalisation project in the region, explained that the "strategy to grow this in PSI is to make its transversality with the main priorities of the organization clear: the future of trade union organisation, the future of work, freedom of association, democracy, tax justice, human rights, free trade agreements and quality public services". Read the original article in English and Spanish here

  • Worker surveillance is spreading - podcast

    This podcast (in Danish) is concerned with the rise of digital tools and systems used to surveil workers. Read the description of the podcast in Danish here. English translation below. Workflow ep. 26: Worker surveillance is spreading As more of our daily work takes place on digital platforms, it has become possible for employers to collect data on everything we do. It is, however, a development that should be discussed and regulated, say critics. As more and more of our daily work takes place on digital platforms, it has become possible for employers to collect data on everything we do: how many e-mails we write, how often we call customers or other employees, how many times we press the keyboard, how much time we spend on social media or other pastimes, and so on. It can also be about tracking how much we move and perhaps even what we weigh, and how much we eat, if we participate in health programs in the company. On the one hand, it might help us to plan our work better, ensure more focus time, optimize meetings and make us more productive (and perhaps even make us healthier), on the other hand there is a risk that employee monitoring becomes a huge overstepping of the boundaries of our privacy. We have spoken to digital consultant and author Peter Svarre and consultant and trade union expert Christina Colclough about what kind of tools companies use, what the idea behind them is, and what it looks like here in Denmark. Links / show notes Also read IDA's topic: Are you being monitored at work? Read more about Peter Svarre on his website Read about Christina Colclough's Why Not Lab Read more about the ADD project: Algorithms, Data & Democracy Read more about HK's digital little sister HK LAB Find out about Workflow - a podcast about the future of working life Find Workflow on Apple Find Workflow on Spotify Workflow is produced by IDA the The Danish Society of Engineers by: Lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen and labor market researcher Nana Wesley Hansen, and Tech journalist Anders Høeg Nissen

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  • Contact | The Why Not Lab | Championing ALT Digital

    Let's Connect! And Reshape Digital @ Work Send We believe in the richness of diversity, equal opportunities and inclusive meetings, panels, speaker line ups etc. We urge all requestors to diversify their events as much as possible, and will happily recommend excellent folks in our stead. Thanks for contacting The Why Not Lab. You will hear from us soon, Christina

  • The Hive | The Why Not Lab | Championing ALT Digital

    Explore Speeches Podcasts Tech for Good Workshops Tech for Good The Hive The hive is buzzing with activity! Check our services below for how you can strengthen your digital strategies. Combine, mould or pick one. The Why Not Lab offers flexible, tailormade solutions that meet your needs. Do contact us to find out how we can support you Why Not Lab Actions What Not Lab Services Tech 4 Good Our digital tools are a means to a bigger end. Using digital tools can be a powerful way to organise, campaign and gather data to improve worker well-being. Check these two we've co-developed. WeClock & Lighthouse . More are on their way! Guides 4 Unions We have developed guides to help unions bargain for much stronger workers' rights. Check them out: ​ ​The Data Lifecycle at Work The Co-Governance of Algorithmic Systems ​ Both are aimed to support your bargaining! Speeches Are you on the lookout for an engaging, globally acclaimed keynote speaker or moderator? Christina sheds fresh light on the future of work, AI and data & digitalised work leaving everyone charged up for change. Watch some of her speeches for inspiration Contact us Questions? Curious to know more? Workshops Book us for tailormade workshops that aim to build your capacity to shape the digital world of work.​ Compiled as a series with practical exercises, these workshops will shift your perspective and help you master change! Find inspiration here Research ​We can situate your organisation's policies and strategies in a digital context through written reports, briefs and/or audio/visual material. ​Combine with some of our other services for max benefit. See some of our research here Strategy Do you want to finetune your organisation so it can shape the digital world of work? Here we are! ​ We have the methods and tools to work with you to find your strategies. Think digital tools, skills, culture, campaigns & leadership

  • About | The Why Not Lab | Championing ALT Digital

    about the Why Not Lab The Why Not Lab is a boutique value-driven consultancy that puts workers at the centre of digital change. We offer our expertise exclusively to progressive organisations, trade unions and governments. The Why Not Lab has a two-fold mission to ensure that the digital world of work is empowering rather than exploitative. We: ​ Equip workers and their unions with the right skills, know-how and know-what to shape an alternative digital ethos that ensures collective rights in the digital age; ​ Put workers' interests centre stage in current and future digital policies ​ ​ To bridge digital divides and prevent the objectification of workers that is currently underway, workers must be empow ered so they can table an alternative digital ethos. The Why Not Lab aims to support exactly this through our training, policy and strategic support. ​ The Why Not Lab is run by Dr Christina J. Colclough - a fearless optimist who believes that change for good is possible if we put our minds and heart to it. She works with experts and partners across the world to provide the best advice at all times. Read more about Dr. Colclough below Please note: All workers across the world need to champion ALT Digital strategies and policies. We have therefore adopted a differential pricing principle so we can support workers and organisations from all regions. Do contact us with any inquiries. Dr Christina J. Colclough Regarded as a thought leader on the futures of work(ers) and the politics of digital technology, Christina is an advocate for the workers’ voice. She has extensive global labour movement experience, where she led their future of work policies, advocacy and strategies for a number of years. She was the author of the union movement's first principles on Workers' Data Rights and the Ethics of AI . A globally sought-after keynote speaker and workshop trainer with over 400 speeches and trainings the last 3 years, Christina created the Why Not Lab as a dedication to improving workers' digital rights. She is included in the all-time Hall of Fame of the world's most brilliant women in AI Ethics. ​ Trusted Positions ​ Christina is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the UK and Advisory Board member of Carnegie Council's new program: AI and Equality Initiative. She is also a member of the OECD One AI Expert Group and is affiliated to FAOS, the Employment Relations Research Center at Copenhagen University. In 2021, Christina was a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI). Our Digital Future Our Digital Future is a 3-year project with Public Services International aimed at capacity building unions in all regions of the world on digitalisation of work and workers and co-designing union responses. Training material (reports & slides) are available upon request. MOOC for unions With a good camera, professional lighting, a yummy Røde microphone, the scene is set to shoot a number of short videos that in time will become a full blown MOOC. Its all about the datafication of work, digital technologies and union responses. ​ Co-governing A.I Through thematic advice and training we are supporting a group of unions in a European country on the co-governance of algorithmic systems in workplaces. Their aim is to scale to the entire labour market. UnionTech Find the material & recordings from this 4-part series of workshops on #UnionTech here - courtesy of participants, presenters and FES . These workshops united participants to build their capacity to critically use & challenge digital technologies. Digital Training USA Pretty honoured to be working with a top-notch university in the US to create a series of workshops on digitalisation and the impacts on work and workers. The first round of workshops is tailor-made union leaders. Data Storytelling The team behind WeClock offers with support from FES an in-depth, hands-on course on data storytelling. Through responsible data collection, to designing and running the campaign, participants learn how to analyse their data and use this in their campaigning. Current Projects Testimonials John C. Havens E.D., IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous & Intelligent Systems & Council on Extended Intelligence . In an environment where rhetoric often rules all, Christina provides hard-hitting yet pragmatic and solutions-oriented counsel on issues including the future of work, human autonomy, human rights, and technology governance in general. ​ She is my "go to" person on any issues related to AI and the future of work based on her specialized knowledge of worker's rights and actual global policy and economics relating to these issues versus only aspirational techno-utopian ideals. She is also a gifted and personable speaker, transforming highly nuanced and complex technical and political issues into conversational, story-oriented speeches.

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