Current research:

The Warehouse: Humans and Robots at Amazon. My next book, based on a study of the material conditions of labour in Amazon fulfillment centres. What happens behind the click when you purchase a commodity online? I am analysing Amazon labour at several levels. The technologies used to work, such as barcode scanners and system algorithms, are crucial to understand the labour process at Amazon. Management enacts a specific form of despotism based on Amazon’s technological and cultural infrastructures. Future robotic and algorithmic technologies seem to be designed to further control and intensify human labour rather than replacing it. The book goes back to 1960s Italian workerist theories of the relation between workers and technology in industrial capitalism.

Log out! Worker resistance within and against digital capitalism. In this research I aim at showing the central role of worker struggle, sabotage and resistance in any project of future liberation. I am the convener of a McLuhan Centre working group and the organiser of a conference on this topic. The first Log Out! conference was held in 2018, a new edition was supposed to take place in 2020 but is currently on hold due to the coronavirus crisis. I also participate in an international research collaboration about platform-based worker organizing. I sometimes fantasize about writing a book titled Log Out! Maybe one day it will happen.

Things I might or might not do in the future:

Detecting democracy. With free software and Wikipedia, particle physics may be the third example of global massive collaboration around authorship. Hundreds of physicists are members of collaborations that collectively run a detector or experiment. Their decision-making processes include formal institutional hierarchies, informal kinship relations, and detailed rules for participation and dissent inscribed in their constitutions. Can they help us understand contemporary democratic forms?

Remix labour. A study of the commodification of media piracy and remix cultures. Workers use radical remix techniques to produce content for the mainstream media industry. Look up rip-o-matic videos if you want a cool example. This is related to the endemic precarity of the sector, and possibly to its masculine culture of performativity too.