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They will need it. New York is only the latest city, following London, Paris and a number of others, to put restrictions on ride-hailing, which has turned urban transport upside down. I see it from both sides. In New York, finding rides in outer boroughs has become exponentially easier thanks to Uber and Lyft. I take multiple trips per week and I am considering giving up my car altogether (if you wonder why, read Calvin Trillin's novel about parking in New York).rnrnOn the other hand, traffic does seem worse, and anyone who invested in a traditional taxi medallion - which used to sell for more than $1m and have since plunged to low six figures - has lost out. That is what technology does, of course. Just ask the Luddites. The problem is that while 21st-century technology has reshaped many industries, labour laws remain stuck in the 19th century. No wonder numerous despondent taxi drivers have committed suicide. If we want the "sharing economy" to live up to its name, the platform technology companies that benefit the most from it have to do just that - share.rnrnBoth technical and existential changes are required. At core, we should give up on the fantasy that the gig economy somehow eliminates issues of power between workers and companies. Contractors who work via Uber, or any other "on-demand" platform do have more independence, and surveys show they like it. Uber plays this up, with ads in which a prosperous looking young white man smiles from a sunlit car, over the tagline "Freedom Pays Weekly." He might be a teacher on summer break making an extra buck in his spare time.rnrnIn reality, most Uber drivers are black, Asian or Latino and making below minimum wage. And, on the whole, algorithmic management puts dramatically more power in the hands of platform companies. Not only can they monitor workers 24/7, they benefit from enormous information asymmetries that allow them to suddenly deactivate drivers with low user ratings, or take a higher profit margin from riders willing to pay more for speedier service, without giving drivers a cut.rnRecommendedrnSarah O'ConnorrnLet gig workers control their data toornrnThis is not a properly functioning market. It is a data-driven oligopoly that will further shift power from labour to capital at a scale we have never seen before. It is not only taxi drivers that are being "uberised" but radiologists, lawyers, contractors and accountants. All these services can now be accessed at cut rates via platforms.rnrnRather than wait for more regulatory pushback, platform tech companies should take responsibility now for the changes they have wreaked - and not just the positive ones. That requires an attitude adjustment. Many tech titans have a libertarian bent that makes them dismissive of the public sector as a whole. Uber became infamous for simply going into new markets guerrilla style, disrupting first and asking questions later. (It is now trying to change its reputation under Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced Mr Kalanick last year.)rnrnYet the potential benefits of ride-hailing and sharing - from less traffic to less pollution - cannot actually be realised unless the tech companies work with the public sector. One can imagine companies like Uber co-operating with city officials to phase in vehicles slowly, rolling out in underserved areas first, rather than flooding the most congested markets and creating a race to the bottom.rnrnThe same goes for other sorts of platforms, like Airbnb. That company often touts its ability to open up new neighbourhoods to tourism, but research shows that in cities like New York, most of its business is done in a handful of high end areas - and the largest chunk by commercial operators with multiple listings, with the effect of raising rents and increasing the strains caused by gentrification. Officially Airbnb has a "one host, one home" policy in New York, but better enforcement is needed.rnrnOn the labour side, too, the platform companies must take responsibility for the human cost of disruption. New York University professor Arun Sundararajan, has proposed allowing companies to create a "safe harbour" training fund that provides benefits and insurance for drivers and other on-demand workers without triggering labour laws that would categorise such workers as full-time employees (which is what companies want to avoid).rnrnIt is a hedge, but it would give both sides time to craft new rules of the road for the on-demand economy to ensure it does not become a zero-sum game.