If Then

Not Getting By in the Gig Economy

Author Sarah Kessler explains how the “future of work” has helped computer programmers—and failed those who need it most. 

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus is joined by guest co-host Maya Kosoff from Vanity Fair. They discuss the electric scooters that are suddenly wreaking havoc on city streets—and why Silicon Valley venture capitalists are swooning over them. They also discuss the layoffs at Tesla and what they might mean for the electric car company and its workers.

Later, Will is joined by journalist Sarah Kessler of Quartz. Her new book is called Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work, and it looks at the so-called gig economy from the human side. She talked to people around the country who are trying to make ends meet on services like Uber, Amazon Turk, and TaskRabbit.

On Tabs this week, the hosts discuss Palmer Luckey’s proposed surveillance border wall, and why you probably shouldn’t let foreign governments help you cool down your computer.

Stories discussed on the show:

Vanity Fair: “I Have Never Seen Revenue Grow This Fast”: Could a Scooter Start-Up Really be Worth $1 Billion?

The Atlantic: Electric Scooter Charger Culture Is Out of Control

KEYT: Santa Barbara City Impounds Scooter Share Service on Its First Weekend

Slate: The Case for Fearing the AT&T–Time Warner Merger

Slate: Day 1 of a Worse Internet

Slate: Ajit Pai Is Twisting the Meaning of the “Open Internet”

NPR: Tesla Lays Off 9 Percent of Workforce

Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler

Don’t Close My Tabs

Slate: Why the Gift Bags at the North Korea Summit Could Pose a Cybersecurity Threat

Wired: Inside Palmer Lucky’s Bid to Build a Border Wall

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs: You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.