Humans in the Press: Humans vs Uber: Will Blockchain Help?
There is a lot of buzz going on about “Uberization”. But, is this model that great? The new article by newsbtc.com aims to find an answer.
Uber managed to gain a remarkable market share in the transport industry by implementing a simple but powerful idea. The company didn’t invest in a technology from scratch, but selected an industry with great demand and built an ecosystem with a broader supply chain. Uber realized that the difference of quality and cost expectation assurance to be competitive depending on the market dynamics.
Many believe that Uber’s surge-price algorithm which adjusts fare price according to demand is a brilliant example of supply and demand at work. However, is “uberizing” possible for every single sector of the modern economy?
As blockchain is co-opted into the infrastructure of traditional business the world will see how well the concept of “Uberization” fares. In real-world applications, blockchain might be the only technology which can solve the issue of trust and minimize excessive middlemen costs.
Currently, many initiatives and projects are trying to grab a slice of the Uberization vertical markets pie. The concept of eliminating the need and cost of a third-party through the use of blockchain technology is very attractive to many corporations and could also help to better protect data against breaches. Among the key “opponents” of Uberization, is the concept of humanization, a blockchain specific term which can be defined as ‘ensuring the integrity of a supply chain by guaranteeing the integrity and provenance of the transacting community.’ Within this decentralized realm, the conceptual strength and communal belief in ‘humanization’ are essential as everybody is accountable to everyone. While blockchain provides total immutability and security, humanization bolsters each participants’ belief that all interactions also occur within an environment governed by a mutually accepted moral scope.
The Current Mania Surrounding Uberization
Uberization of services is primarily focused on addressing markets that are geographically hyper-local. A fragmented market composed of many small providers tends to be plagued by quality control issues such as unpredictable customer experiences. Uber’s model attacks this issue simply because of its simplicity. By listing all of the available suppliers, or more specifically 3 million drivers across the globe, customers are able to access a database of verified providers and communicate with each other in a safe environment.
Among the highlights of Uber’s tech is the “surge-price” policy – when there is a lack of available cars and the demand for rides is increased, the price is higher than the average. The fare calculation process is the sum of the base rate, the rate for the estimated time and distance of the route, and the current demand for rides in the area.
Uberization increases the monetization of valuable assets like cars and effectively boosts the productivity of their owners. As the concept of Uberization expands to new vertical markets, “personal” assets become commercially productive and there is the opportunity for ‘uberized’ companies to reduce their operating costs as the employees’ private assets are used to deliver products and services.
For these reasons, it’s easy to see why the Uber model is attractive as it combines mobile technology, dynamic pricing, and dynamic supply to develop a disruptive and delightful user experience. Uberization is actually quite similar to Saul Kaplan’s definition of innovation as “a better way to deliver value.”
Risks of Uberization
It is possible that the Uberization of goods and services introduces a new degree of uncertainty about the amount of slack remaining in the economy and the true potential for above-trend growth. For instance, Uber’s model may increase the potential value of private vehicles but may reduce the necessity of car ownership. The above shows a problematic issue regarding the traditional measures of economic slack.
Secondly, there are several risks to the human side of this model. There are major questions revolving whether Uber-like startups’ workers in the new age have a sense of commitment. Third, the safety standards stemming from a workforce might be less committed than professional taxi drivers. There are already a number of examples of drivers mistreating customers during Uber routes despite the grading practice of the company.
Fourth, there are concerns about the economic benefits of employees under an Uber-like working schedule. A recent report from the International Labour Organization calculated that an average American crowd worker earns less than $5 per hour.
Lastly, rapid Uberization may lead to unsustainable migration to big cities by workers with hopes of better living conditions and job opportunities. Over the long-term, this could result in unrecoverable changes to climate conditions, health, infrastructure, and social stability.
There is a need for humanization in business. Apart from the first association aroused by the term – acting like a human in business – the term is widely applicable.
Modern clients desire to interact with a service provider in a trusted relationship similar to the type they would have with a friend or a peer. While current companies’ service is personalized, trust and transparency in the concept of humanization are implanted in business relationships.
Many companies are trying to transit into the era of humanization by making their policies and operations more “human-oriented” instead of turning their workers into algorithmic “masses”. It’s a very challenging situation considering that many companies have used AI to automate processes that were once handled by humans. Within the concept of Humanization, all the procedures of the company are customer-oriented and tied to each other as interacting parties.
Despite the trend being relatively new, with most enthusiasts attempting to approach humanization from a theoretical point of view, its real potential is widely recognized by large companies who view humanization as a game-changing business model. For example, Humans.net – a global game-changer in the freelancing market promises no fee, peer-to-peer marketplace where job seekers can connect with job providers. The company has already run a $10 million initial seed funding round, which lead to participation from more than 200,000 users in four U.S. states. Essentially, Humans aims to solve the majority of problems which are byproducts of the Uberization process.
“Transformative services like Uber and others have evolved into gigantic centralized corporations, keeping around 35% of all transactions at the expense of the people that make the service work. Blockchain as an immutable ledger allowing for the very first time in modern tech revolution the creation of truly decentralized indices to facilitate a transaction and business execution in a blindly trusted environment rewarding human creativity, without the pains of centralized services.” — Vlad Dobrynin, the founder and CEO of Humans.net.
Taking Humanization to the Next Level
Another example of a company taking measures to integrate humanization to uberized business practice is Humans.net. Unlike Google which searches for information, Humans.net searches for people by enabling them to enhance the way they relate to each other in many ways. Humans.net is a truly decentralized platform, run by the people, for the people. There is no middleman, no fees, and a greater share of the platform’s revenue is redistributed to contributors, unlike transformative services like Uber which keep around 35% of all transactions at the expense of the people that make the service work.
As Humans.net CEO Vlad Dobrynin explained, Humans.net gives back to its users, by returning a significant part of its revenue to active users that make the platform possible, unlike large conglomerates such as Facebook that make billions of dollars from selling the data of their users.
Eliminating Uber-like model fees
Today the Uberization model is being gradually replaced by the concept of humanization. Providers see their income reduced, while their job is becoming more and more difficult. The integration of blockchain and artificial intelligence could eventually lead to markets that are more decentralized. While the Uberization model remains one of the most profitable business models for large businesses, humanization can enhance the application of this model across a wide array of sectors where social interaction between users is the primary driver of transactions.