New Technology Briefings and Working Papers

Labor in the Platform Economy: New Work Created, Old Work Reorganized and Value Creation Reconfigured

How do platform organizations create new jobs and reorganize old work? And how is value created in the platform economy? Platforms have profoundly altered market logic and dynamics, and challenge us to rethink the ways we define labor and value creation. In this paper, Dafna Bearson, Martin Kenney, and John Zysman present a new taxonomy of platform work that focuses on the reorganization of work in the platform era and apply this framework to the work generated by Etsy and Amazon publishing.

Download: "Labor in the Platform Economy: New Work Created, Old Work Reorganized, and Value Creation Reconfigured," by Dafna Bearson, Martin Kenney, and John Zysman

AI and Domain Knowledge: Implications of the Limits of Statistical Inference

Today's AI is certainly powerful. But reliant as most of these systems are on machine learning, they have fundamental limitations. And these limitations have implications for AI’s development, application, and impact in the coming years. This paper will first describe machine learning’s fundamental nature as a form of statistical inference, and explore how this constricts effective use of today’s AI to certain kinds of problem domains. Through the lens of this limitation, it will then take a position in three debates over how AI will unfold.

Download: "AI and Domain Knowledge: Implications of the Limits of Statistical Inference," by Christopher Eldred, based on presentations by Michael Borrus and Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, with editorical contributions from John Zysman and Mark Nitzberg

The Emergence of Platform-Dependent Entrepreneurs: Power Assymetries, Risk, and Uncertainty

To many entrepreneurs, platforms are like Gods. While they lower barriers to entrepreneurship, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have unilateral power over their ecosystems — over rates of compensation, terms of use, even over businesses' very existence. In this article, the authors describe these “platform-dependent entrepreneurs,” discuss how they can reduce their dependence, and suggest a new way of thinking about entrepreneurship in the digital economy.

Download: "The Emergence of Platform-Dependent Entrepreneurs: Power Asymmetries, Risk, and Uncertainty" by Donato Cutolo and Martin Kenney

5G: Revolution or Hype?

Is 5G revolutionary? Will the “fifth generation” of wireless technology not only update our network from 4G, but spark deep and widespread change across economies, industries, and the lives of consumers? 5G hype certainly abounds. But the theory of 5G is difficult to put into practice. Despite the drumbeat of hype, it is not clear how quickly 5G will be deployed. Just as unclear is how transformative 5G will be when it does arrive. This paper will explore the promises and limitations of 5G through the lens of four critical issues.

Download: “5G: Revolution or Hype?" by Christopher Eldred, Martin Kenney, Kenji Kushida, Jonathan Murray, and John Zysman

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