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.

Italian operaismo and digital capitalism. While in the past post-operaismo thinkers such as Negri or Lazzarato have been central to understanding the social character of digital labour, I argue that we now need to go back to earlier Italian heretic theorists. In the 1960s, figures such as Mario Tronti, Romano Alquati or Raniero Panzieri studied post-war industrial capitalism to develop a sophisticated theory of capitalism and of the relation between workers and technology. Their ideas may help us understand the current evolution of digital 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 is on its way.

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?

You’re deactivated. Dismissal through disconnection from the company’s app represents the most brutal side of the disciplinary power of digital labour technologies. The technical ability to “deactivate” a worker is the result of deeper political and legal transformations which enable digital capitalism to tap into an increasingly precarious workforce. What is the political significance of the technical fluidity of  platform labour?