但最近关于 Uber 的坏新闻实在是太多了，不仅包括其商业模式的问题，还涉及到其公司文化的讨论，周末《纽约时报》的这篇长文，就系统性揭露了 Uber 如何利用心理学家「打压」司机：
Uber’s innovations reflect the changing ways companies are managing workers amid the rise of the freelance-based “gig economy.” Its drivers are officially independent business owners rather than traditional employees with set schedules. This allows Uber to minimize labor costs, but means it cannot compel drivers to show up at a specific place and time. And this lack of control can wreak havoc on a service whose goal is to seamlessly transport passengers whenever and wherever they want.
Uber helps solve this fundamental problem by using psychological inducements and other techniques unearthed by social science to influence when, where and how long drivers work. It’s a quest for a perfectly efficient system: a balance between rider demand and driver supply at the lowest cost to passengers and the company.
To keep drivers on the road, the company has exploited some people’s tendency to set earnings goals — alerting them that they are ever so close to hitting a precious target when they try to log off. It has even concocted an algorithm similar to a Netflix feature that automatically loads the next program, which many experts believe encourages binge-watching. In Uber’s case, this means sending drivers their next fare opportunity before their current ride is even over.
对 Uber 这样的公司来说，人类司机已经成为其最高昂的成本——这也就不难理解为何这家公司会如此重视自动驾驶的研发，然而另一方面，《纽约时报》也注意到，短期内，随着 Uber 继续聘用人类司机，并进军其他领域，由此带来的影响将是深远的：
It is, as a result, not too hard to imagine a future in which massive digital platforms like Uber have an appetite for tens of millions of workers — not only for ferrying people, but also for delivering food and retail goods. Nor is it hard to imagine workers’ obliging them, perhaps because their skills do not match the needs of more traditional employers, or because they need to supplement their wages.
In such an economy, experts say, using big data and algorithms to manage workers will not simply be a niche phenomenon. It may become one of the most common ways of managing the American labor force.
Uber 们成与败背后是硅谷盛行的「bro culture」
HBO 的热播美剧《硅谷》一直以嬉笑怒骂的态度解构着硅谷的荒诞故事，而参与第二季剧本撰写的 Dan Lyons 则是个颇有故事的人：
前《新闻周刊》科技编辑 Dan Lyons 在 52 岁时加入一家创业公司HubSpot，担任营销员，他将自己的经历写成了一本书 Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble:Dan Lyons描述了他在创业公司内目睹的可笑故事，处于顶层的人们正从游戏中获利，他们操纵游戏使之有利于自己……他们把亏损的初创企业变成了让少数投资者受益的金融工具……与此同时，科技从业者被告知公司的需要比他们自己的更重要。
Dan Lyons 最近在《纽约时报》继续撰文批评硅谷的「bro culture」：
What is bro culture? Basically, a world that favors young men at the expense of everyone else. A “bro co.” has a “bro” C.E.O., or C.E.-Bro, usually a young man who has little work experience but is good-looking, cocky and slightly amoral — a hustler. Instead of being forced by investors to surround himself with seasoned executives, he is left to make decisions on his own.
Lyons 将 Uber 作为典型的「bro culture」公司，这家公司有着一个绝对意义上的老大 Travis Kalanick，但现在 Uber 的困境恰恰来自于这类基因。某种意义上，当年的 FB 也曾是一家「bro culture」驱动的公司，不过扎克伯格在最关键的时刻挖来 Sheryl Sandberg，成为 FB 随后稳健发展的关键要素，也因此，Lyons 认为，Uber 考虑聘请经验丰富的 COO 是一个正确的决定，但时间已经不多了：
Uber’s collapse should not come as a surprise but it does offer a lesson: Toxic workplace culture and rotten financial performance go hand-in-hand. It’s possible for a boorish jerk to run a successful company, but jerks do best when surrounded by non-jerks, and bros do best when they hire seasoned executives to help them. Without “adult supervision” and institutional restraints, the C.E.-Bro’s vices end up infecting the culture of the workplaces they control.
Tim Berners-Lee 的梦想与现实
Tim Berners-Lee 终于拿到了图灵奖，之所以说「终于」，是因为这个奖对于他来说，真是实至名归，没有他，至少人类进入所谓互联互通的时间要晚上数年甚至数十年，但他的最大贡献在于始终坚持一件事：让 Web 变得更开放。
然而现实却跟 Tim Berners-Lee 开了一个不大不小的玩笑，从社交媒体到移动互联网，封闭的花园成为一种行业共识，互联网巨头们，如美国的 FB、Google 、亚马逊、苹果，中国的 BAT 或 TMD ，就像黑洞一样吞噬掉整个互联网的流量，成为一个个封闭花园里的那个万能的中心。
获奖后的 Tim Berners-Lee 接受了多家媒体的采访，但这篇来自《卫报》的采访内容最丰富，Tim Berners-Lee 阐述了 Web 带来的真正价值、当下社交媒体的负面影响以及关于隐私的思考：
The idea was that it was universal and there should be no boundaries to it. There should be a sense that you can put anything on it: you can put scribbled notes on it, you can put beautiful artwork on it, and you can connect them together so people can go back later and see a connection between the scribbled note and the artwork it became. And you should be able to link to anything, and so you should be able to put anything on the web. That was the driving force behind the design, and motivation for trying to get people onboard.
There are a core group of people from within the web community definitely pushing it from that point of view. Right now, though, there are people who despair because everyone’s in the same social network and it’s just as though they had just dialed up to America Online. They might as well have kept America Online, rather than move to Facebook! It’s a game they’re living; a nice, useful, but non-decentralized thing. People are trying to – I call it re-decentralizing the web. Originally the web was decentralized; now it seems to be centralized again. What can we build which will end up re-decentralizing it?
Privacy, a core American value, is not a partisan thing. Democrats fight for it and Republicans fight for it too, maybe even more. So I am very shocked that the Republican party has managed to suggest that it should be trashed; if anyone follows up on this direction, there will be a massive pushback – and there must be a massive pushback!
如上文所言，倘若当下我们沉浸在「技术布道者」的甜言蜜语之中的话，那么下面这幅图里的这些人毫无疑问是这个时代最具影响力的「技术布道者」——他们因计算机、互联网的发展不仅成为当下的亿万富翁，还具有巨大的权力——想象一下 Google 修改一下搜索算法会让多少公司破产或者想象一下 FB 的News Feed 算法对于媒体的影响……
- Dark Origin Story: All he wanted to do was drink beer, rate hot chicks, and Poke people. But Facebook users kept pouring in, even when he purposefully misused their data again and again. The day he attained his 1 billionth user was the day he decided he’d connect everyone in the world, whether they wanted to be or not.
- Villainous Traits: Harvard student; eats toast like an automaton; shameless copycat.
- Most Villainous Moment: When he was still at Harvard, Zuckerberg bragged that he had access to pictures, emails, and addresses of thousands of Facebook users who were “dumb fucks” for trusting him.
- Doomsday Device: The News Feed, which has the ability to affect people’s moods (and elections), could be weaponized by Zuckerberg to unleash an unprecedented FOMO outbreak.
- How to Stop Him: Install an ad blocker.
- Dark Origin Story: The first book Amazon ever sold was Machiavelli’s The Prince.
- Villainous Traits: Bald; building an army of flying robots; made his grandma cry.
- Most Villainous Moment: Got to go back to that image of him gleefully controlling a horrifying robot mech.
- Doomsday Device: On next year’s Prime Day, he will offer all products for 50 percent off. After customers irrationally empty their bank accounts in the pursuit of deals, he will fulfill zero orders as he makes off with the entirety of the United States GDP.
- How to Stop Him: Surmount your crippling need to avoid human interaction in physical stores.