Molly Sauter writes:
O’Reilly’s “map” of Uber is an illustrated affair with color-coded ovals and connections running every which way linking things like “augmented workers,” “managed by algorithm,” and “magical user experience.” He assigns Uber the tagline, “Transportation as reliable as running water.” What I think O’Reilly means here is that clean water runs cleanly and freely from the tap thanks to invisible embedded infrastructure, and Uber’s algorithmically managed system of incentives brings enough drivers onto the roads to satisfy rider demand in a way that seems magical to the user. However, the reality is that running water in the U.S. is increasingly unreliable. Americans’ water bills are skyrocketing as corporate raids on municipal water tables coupled with the effects of climate change drive the levels of reservoirs down. One study found that water bills may become too expensive for a third of U.S. households within five years. And of course, over in Flint, Michigan, the phrase “running water” connotes a disastrous attempt to cut costs in 2014 that led to an epidemic of lead poisoning that is still ongoing.
Good. One less book I need to read.