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Uber shifts ride fares in an incredibly odd way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Uber announced new fare pricing but leaves many drivers and users questioning if it is actually fair.

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Uber’s new system

Uber’s new pricing system doesn’t put any more money in drivers’ pockets but it may adjust your fares.

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After testing the system within different markets, the ride company announced that they would be changing their pricing system in the hopes to turn a profit.

Route-based

Uber calls it their “route-based” system. In essence, they will charge customers what they think they are willing to pay. Instead of calculating prices based on mileage and time like in the previous model, they are applying what they call “machine-learning techniques” to estimate fares.

Confused yet?

Basically, Uber will determine the price you pay depending on where you want to go.

The determining factors are location and time of day. So if you want to go downtown on a Friday night, your price will be estimated higher versus someone trying to go to a Chili’s down the street at the same time.

Again, traffic and distance does not come into play in this system.

While these fares basically secure that wealthier customers will pay more, it does not address a few factors that have been troubling to Uber for some time now. For instance, will wait times be longer in less desirable areas? More importantly, will drivers earn a fair wage?

The fine print

Unfortunately it seems that the new pricing system does not leave employees with more money in their pockets. Uber has reported that they will show how much each passenger pays per ride, but will not breakdown how much the company takes.

This will require drivers to sign new contracts accepting this pay structure.

Uber has faced many problems in the past, with price discrepancies and scandals flooding the news. What were the overall complaints? As a business Uber does not make enough money and drivers are paid too little.

So will the fare restructuring fix those problems?

According to Uber, the company itself will be able to move closer towards a profit because they are taking home more money. This will put them back into competition with other popular ride share companies in addition to gaining revenue for the business.

Uber promises that the money earned will be put towards improving the company, which in turn, means future bonuses and higher income for drivers.

#UberPayChange

Natalie is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and co-founded an Austin creative magazine called Almost Real Things. When she is not writing, she spends her time making art, teaching painting classes and confusing people. In addition to pursuing a writing career, Natalie plans on getting her MFA to become a Professor of Fine Art.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Andres Campagna

    May 28, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    The writer implies at several points in this article that those who drive Uber are “employees” and “earn a wage” both of which are false. Drivers utilizing the Uber or anyother rideshare platform are independent contractors who receive a commission on rides. What these changes are bringing is a change in that commission structure to the advantage of Uber over drivers. They want to make the consumer pay base upon demand and pay the driver what Uber thinks they can get away paying rather than demand. They are manipulating both and trying to make s profit in between. As drivers are not employees and lack any legal protrotections we have little recourse other than to accept or not accept the ride. Most riders do not understand that the driver doesn’t know where you are going until you get in the car either. This means the driver has to make s split decision regarding whether or not the ride is profitable for them. As more and more drivers start to realize that they are getting screwed more and more riders will get pissed about being told no. Uber is banking on drivers being benevolent and riders blaming that particular driver rather than the company as a whole when left on the curb.

  2. Judah Ross

    August 6, 2017 at 12:50 am

    There is a big problem with this structure for riders as well. The guaranteed up front fare only applies to the exact pick up and location. If you change it even slightly the price can go up by even $10. What often happens is the driver will start or stop the ride a few seconds early completely changing the price. Unless you go back in to ride history you’ll never know that you paid much more than you thought you would.

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Business News

Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace

(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?

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Ageism void

Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.

Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.

How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?

It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.

  1. Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
  2. Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
  3. Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.

Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.

What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?

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Business News

AI-generated content is against Google’s guidelines, so what now?

(BUSINESS) Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, says that AI-generated content is against webmaster guidelines. What does mean for content strategy?

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Google homepage on computer representing AI-generated content.

John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, stated that AI-generated content is against Google’s webmaster guidelines in a weekly online question and answer session.

Let’s review what that means for you and your content strategy going forward.

First of all, what is AI Generated Content?

Simply put, Medium defines it as

“[a]utomatically generated or Auto-Generated content is content that’s been created with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools.”

Tools like writesonic or jasper are examples of AI content creation tools made to create content for a blog, social media, etc. If you check these websites, you will find that Google is listed as one of the many companies that use their services.

So, Google can use it but others will be penalized for using it. Can Google recognize when a user takes advantage of AI-generated content services for use on the web?

In the video Q&A, Mueller doesn’t confirm or deny whether or not Google is capable of recognizing AI-generated content. He is quoted as stating,

“I can’t claim that. But for us, if we see that something is automatically generated, then the webspam team can take action on that.”

After countless searches about the Google webspam team and what actions they can take, it’s not immediately clear, but what seems to be the consensus is that it could negatively impact Google rankings and SEO.

What can you do?

If you are already using AI-generated content, the first thing to consider is do you need to do most of the heavy lifting or are you using it to generate ideas or a starting point? If you’re using it to fully write your next blog post, you need to reconsider this position and be sure to have a human add personal touches to your online content.

According to Mueller, using AI-generated content in ANY capacity is considered unacceptable. He states,

“[c]urrently it’s all against the webmaster guidelines. So, from our point of view, if we were to run across something like that, if the webspam team were to see it, they would see it as spam.”

Your best bet is to keep doing it yourself because right now Google has all the power over search and rankings. At least, until something changes.

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Business News

Social media and depression go hand-in-hand, studies show

(BUSINESS) Maybe this won’t come as a surprise, but the statistics sure are telling- having depression and social media usage are linked.

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Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found evidence of a link between depression and social media use. Many studies have attempted to show that social media use can be detrimental to your mental health, but the parameters of these studies are often limited in scope or were unrealistic situations. The UPenn study collected usage data tracked by the phone rather than relying on self-reporting.

Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt, the author of the published study, says the bottom line is: “Using less social media than you normally would lead to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

It should be noted that the study participants were college students who were randomly assigned to either use social media as they normally would or be in the experimental group that limited time on the three most popular platforms, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Hunt doesn’t believe that it’s realistic not to use social networks at all, but it is important to find a way to manage your use to avoid negative effects.

Depression is a serious problem for Americans, but is social media responsible?

The CDC reported that between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of Americans over the age of 20 experienced depression in a 2-week period. About 80% of these people had difficulty with daily activities due to depression. However, “over a 10-year period, from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, the percentage of adults with depression did not change significantly.” On the other hand, social network use increased exponentially during this time.

There have been other studies that link social media use and depression. It might be that the more platforms accessed increase the risk for depression. Another study found that it was the way people used social media that increased depression. Using it to compare yourself to others or feeling addicted to social media increased the feelings of depression.

But it’s unknown whether depression or social media use came first. Studies haven’t quite agreed on whether it exacerbates existing problems, or creates them.

How should we approach social media use?

Another report suggests that Facebook knew from the start that they were creating addictions. The people closest to tech believe that there are inherent risks for their children to be on social media. Scary? It should make you think about how and why you use tech.

If you find yourself having negative feelings after using social networks, consider limiting the amount of time you spend on those platforms. Get out and connect with others. Relationships can often reduce the risk of depression. Get involved in your community. It’s important to find balance in using social media and having connections with others. Spend time on what makes you feel better about your life.

There are still a lot of questions about how social networks and technologies affect society. In the meantime, pay attention to how you use these sites and be conscious of not getting sucked into the comparison trap.

If you are depressed and lonely, there is help available, and we ask you to make that difficult step and reach out – call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. You can also visit their website to find your local NAMI.

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