Special Issue - Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal on automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and labour protection

The Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal has just released a collection of articles on automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and labour protection.

Below is an outline of the different contributions to the special issue. The Introduction is available on SSRN​ where we also posted some early drafts of our articles.

The collection opens with the contribution of Valerio de Stefano, discussing how management-by-algorithm, People Analytics and AI risk magnifying employers' managerial prerogatives to an undesirable extent and how social dialogue and collective bargaining should govern these phenomena. Phoebe Moore's article covers the impact of new work monitoring technologies and AI on occupational safety and health, after discussing in-depth the current notion of artificial intelligence. Janine Berg examines the relationship between technological innovations and the spread of highly unstable non-standard work arrangements and new forms of unremunerated labour.

Antonio Aloisi & Elena Gramano show how new technological tools and surveillance practices foster a "genetic variation" of subordination and control in the employment relationship. Jeremias Prassl's article, instead, explains how these phenomena allow increasingly automating HR functions and bring to the legal forum entirely new questions regarding liabilities and workers protection.

Frank Hendrickx discusses how AI and the use of big data at work call for an integrated approach to data protection, human rights and labour regulation instruments, while Ilaria Armaroli & Emanuele Dagnino look at how the trade unions and employers are collectively bargaining over data collection and processing and the use of management-by-algorithm.

Miriam Cherry examines past debates on automation, particularly those held at the ILO in the 1960s, showing how many of the measures that are nowadays discussed as the vanguard of policy responses to “the future of work” were already debated back then and drawing lessons from these past experiences to better face current challenges. Matthew Finkin's article also draws insights from past discussions to argue that rather than replacing work, technology will produce jobs that will widen inequality within the working population, causing pressing problems of public policy.

David Kucera & Fernanda Bárcia de Mattos discuss the economic potential of automation and re-shoring and their severe development implications for developing countries. Finally, Uma Rani & Parminder Jeet Singh call into questions widespread assumptions concerning digital technologies and development and discuss how access to workers’ data shifts material power towards businesses in their economic relationship with workers.