Book - Chapter Three: Defining The DoorDash Singularity
Full Dashclosure, Awakening from the human exploitation of DoorDash Singularity
In creating the gig economy, corporations didn’t just bust drivers’ and other labor unions, they busted the drivers and workers individually. In the business scheme of DoorDash, the laborers called Dashers provide all capital resources, repair, maintenance and fuel; while assuming all operational expenses, providing insurance, labor, benefits and accepting 100% of business risks and inflation risks. All that, under a laughably unfair Independent Contractor Agreement that excludes class actions and limits a gigapp-laboring Dasher’s functional interaction with the DoorDash Corporation to, “Who?” It’s inconceivable that any corporation could legally and operationally distance itself further from the human resources completing the tasks it dispatches, than DoorDash.
To whom could this sound like a good deal? People desperate to step away from the work environments and co-workers that they don’t wish to be around, and people with virtually no other options, save fast-food service, retail or warehouse work. None of these options will provide more than the opportunity to financially tread water. “At least,” I thought, when faced with my own employment challenges, “I get to listen to my own music and books.” Not unappealing perks, considering the competition for my labor, which doesn’t exist.
Let’s look at another example of a Dasher struggling to make ends meet. “Meaty Mama’s” third job is Dashing; appslavery. Click here or on the quote below for a one-minute clip, including the following statement:
"So DoorDash is really all I have. Because even if I have a really crappy day, like I had yesterday, where I made only $81. $81 in one day, is still better than $20 in an entire weekend. You see what I’m saying?"
This is why DoorDash's scheme works! The Dashing game preys upon people without options; whose time is, in comparison to other futile options, open and free for abuse. Watch Meaty Mama’s full video, to examine the lengths she goes to in order to add income to her household. Finally, hold your head in your hands when you realize that she hasn’t accounted for income taxes or any of her other myriad expenses when reporting her untimed, insufficient gross income of $81. Her tears flow in the video, and it’s heartbreaking. She’s absolutely desperate to care for her family.
You’ve heard the axiom, “if it’s free, you are the product,” as it applies to corporate data gathering produced by online interactions, and we’re culturally aware of it as fact. Here’s a new version for DoorDash Singularity. In the DoorDash game Dashers ARE NOT PEOPLE WITH JOBS, they’re expenses judged by their all-in cost; the sum of their recruitment costs and delivery payments. The regularly used euphemism by executives and engineers alike is efficiency. Efficiency represents minimized total delivery cost.
Never has such a positive sounding word been used to represent more evil intent. This efficiency is entirely focused upon a delivery operations variable DWARFED by fees, commissions and highly-inflated consumer spending - yet, the variable targeted for manipulation in DoorDash’s unconscionably predatory simulated market for exploited human labor. Efficiency is applied to humans called Dashers; that’s it. The business is manically focused upon efficiency every day; which literally means driving down the all-in-cost of Dashers, their human fuel. Retain them and get the most you can out of them, while systematically driving down their pay in the market simulation.
The DoorDash Corporation Q3, 2022 Earnings Call for this historically ambitious global grift occurred on November 3, 2022. It was presented by CEO Tony Xu, and CFO Prabir Adarkar with both disingenuous grandstanding and damning details about labor abuse.
Yeah. Maybe I'll take both. So Mark, on the Dasher supply question, this is the point I made sort of through today's conversation around the labor market being more normalized this year than it was last year. And so that's having an impact on, obviously, to some degree, advertising rates but also in terms of supply that's available to become Dashers.
And that benefit has been turbocharged by product improvements that have now improved the retention of the fleet and is actually generating incremental supply hours from existing Dashers. And so both of those things means you just don't have -- you don't need to acquire as many new Dasher. So the labor environment -- it's a long story short, the labor environment has resulted in all-in national costs being better today. And that's been -- and because of the product improvement that we've made, we expect that to continue benefiting our cost structure in Q4 as well as 2023, provided there's no shocks of the labor environment.
In that quote, Prabir is making the point that people need work due to the economic downturn. A plus for DoorDash, as they prey on that labor pool. DoorDash has enough Dashers to run the game, thus savings must come from the cost of delivery; and the product improvements. None of these product improvements include increasing dasher pay.
How can DoorDash do that? What magic power do they have over Dashers? Remember, Dashers are not even part of the DoorDash Financial Reports. Dashers are off the books, simply a non-disclosed expense prior to the reporting of Net Income. DoorDash is a technology company that avoids even acknowledging the existence of their gig labor Dashers, those whom they cloyingly profess to love and support.
“DoorDash is a technology company that connects people with the best of their neighborhoods across the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Germany. We enable local businesses to meet consumers’ needs of ease and convenience, and, in turn, generate new ways for people to earn, work, and live. By building the last-mile logistics infrastructure for local commerce, we’re fulfilling our mission to grow and empower local economies.”
This brings us to the question of questions - what is this THING; this corporate entity with the stock ticker symbol of DASH; a “technology company?” First we’ll examine what it’s NOT. DoorDash in not in any way, like ridesharing. Let’s examine why, by comparing the corporate descriptions of Uber and Lyft below.
Uber and Uber Eats - “In addition to helping riders find a way to go from point A to point B, we're helping people order food quickly and affordably, removing barriers to healthcare, creating new freight-booking solutions, and helping companies provide a seamless employee travel experience. And always helping drivers and couriers earn.”
Lyft - “…is a provider of Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) and one of the largest multimodal transportation networks in the US and Canada. The company offers ride sharing, bikes and scooters rental, access to autonomous vehicles and provision of transportation options through platform and mobile-based applications. Lyft operates as a peer-to-peer marketplace between drivers and riders.
As you can see from the corporate descriptions of Uber and Lyft, both explicitly integrate “drivers,” the independent contractors and “riders,” in a real world marketplace. Thus, DoorDash’s last-mile-delivery scheme is not akin to ridesharing, the much discussed gig economy task which provides an intuitive and obvious corollary to taxi or shuttle services.
Ride-sharing is nothing other than another business model for an already existing service of human transportation. It’s a highly developed market with countless national and local regulators and competitors. Convenience, time, service, features, pricing and marketing can all fluctuate in comparison to models as old as transportation itself. Yet, for consumers, ride-sharing only differs from any other paid transportation options in its business model.
Regulators, politicians, journalists, labor-leaders and workers hotly debate the regulations inherent in transporting human-beings safely in an economically viable business model. So, they do. Transportation needs have not changed, as much as the market-based options one can choose from, if they have the resources to do so. It’s what we call a “zero-sum game.” For ride-share companies to give more rides, some other entity or vehicle will give less. More bussing, means less ride-shares. More ride-shares means less cab fares. More cab company protection in markets like airport terminals, means less ride-shares in those markets.
Prior to the pandemic market disruption, outside of selected dense cities with specific demographics, last-mile-delivery was an unprofitable market operated out of necessity. DoorDash CEO Tony Xu has stated the statistics that historically, 99% of retailers and 85% of restaurants never had delivery options until the pandemic. Cab companies, car services and courier services were all available for important functions and urgent deliveries. Most people picked up their own to-go items or shopping, because that’s what makes sense in the real world. Market needs were both relatively modest and satisfied.
When the pandemic and lockdown related market disruptions provided a short-term unprecedented opportunity for delivery in 2019, DoorDash was prepared to act quickly and had the investments and the acquisition of Caviar necessary to do so. Therein lies the first difference between DoorDash and the rest of the gig economy, because there was no real-world profitable market for last-mile-delivery; there were no market-dominating companies to compete with. To make money, DoorDash had to game the market; and they did. Now, if they can do it fast enough and grow big enough, there’s an opportunity for DoorDash to grow into a global force with the power to negotiate directly with national governments and world leaders. It’s that profitable to own a rigged market.
Another unique feature to entering a market without historic competition is that nobody understands the details of the game DoorDash is playing, providing them with a long strategic runway. Operating without capital and the liability of transporting human beings changes everything. The standards for a DoorDash last-mile-delivery driver, the vehicle they use and how they perform the tasks, all deal with inanimate objects. That’s a huge advantage to DoorDash as well as an obvious game-changer for control of the simulated market.
Finally, there are no monied interests to speak against DoorDash operations or to lobby politicians and bureaucrats. Even businesses that once offered delivery are glad to let DoorDash do the delivery driving. Nobody wants it. No drivers’ unions, public transportation interests, cab companies, etc.; no entities to oppose anything the corporation does. There’s no comparable market entity in existence; just a greenfield of commissions and percentages of receipts. DoorDash is printing money; with no capital assets, no market risk, no training, no safety, no support, and no employees outside the corporate offices; everything outsourced except marketing, sales and product engineering. DoorDash executives speak like they’re going to take over the world; and they may be right.
$1.13 Million in 2022 YTD Total Lobbying Expenditures through Q3 foreshadows an obvious reason that U.S. politicians and bureaucrats won't do anything transformative or significant to reign-in DoorDash. Who would pay for it?
Because of these unique aspects of DoorDash’s business scheme and their dominant market share of last-mile-delivery (~60%), Full Dashclosure won’t attempt to uniformly address other gigapp entities. While no single model or type of gigapp labor exists in the rapidly evolving study and development of AI technology, it’s clear that the principles of human labor’s independent contractor function in this relatively new job category are not consistent with the world we perceive today; the world we think we know and understand; the one we “signed up for.”
“Singularity” is a broad term with many alternate meanings in different fields of science and math. For the purpose of this analysis, the definition is linked to our previously mentioned human perception; powerfully exemplified by “The Turing Test.”
"The Turing Test, originally called the 'imitation game' by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human."
To further comprehend singularity, we must understand that artificial intelligence black boxes are characterized by “two complementary impossibility results (Unexplainability and Incomprehensibility), essentially showing that advanced AIs would not be able to accurately explain some of their decisions and for the decisions they could explain people would not understand some of those explanations.” ~ Roman V. Yampolskiy, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, University of Louisville
In other words, we don’t understand how it all works, or if it works, or how it will work next. And you thought your old boss was unpredictable! The trust we place in AI is so complete and so pervasive, that it’s a license to exploit us. What major corporation would pass on that opportunity when they have it?
Our economically, socially and societally reinforced perceptions are all skewed by AI singularity. Let’s review perception briefly, because it’s complex and multifaceted, just like us.
Perception (from Latin perceptio 'gathering, receiving') is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sensory system. Vision involves light striking the retina of the eye; smell is mediated by odor molecules; and hearing involves pressure waves.
Perception is not only the passive receipt of these signals, but it is also shaped by the recipient's learning, memory, expectation, and attention. Sensory input is a process that transforms this low-level information to higher-level information (e.g., extracts shapes for object recognition). The process that follows connects a person's concepts and expectations (or knowledge), restorative and selective mechanisms (such as attention) that influence perception.
The perceptions of our world, especially if unchecked by perspective and consciousness make humans easily hackable systems for artificial intelligence. Let’s pause for a moment and take a deep breath. This is important, and we need consciousness and space to let it unfold for us.
This isn’t your social security number we’re referencing as hackable, nor your bank account. Those hacks could be addressed quickly. Neither is DoorDash’s artificial intelligence simply describable as an algorithm in any way that a human mind could conceive of it. From Merriam-Webster, “algorithm: a procedure for solving a mathematical problem in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation.” DoorDash’s AI represents an entire company of world-class data scientists and engineers strip-mining your soul. Nothing is real. Nothing means anything. Data is both hidden and misrepresented. Everything is designed to bias human behavior.
If we use the smartphone-based DoorDash app, we're instantly transported to the market of a world we don’t understand, yet which is created to exploit us; a simulation where our view is limited to what we’re presented. The game's the one we’re playing and nothing means anything, when playing against artificial intelligence that cycles only between testing you and exploiting you with the results.
That’s the DoorDash Singularity; the data science-driven artificial intelligence running humans (not employing them), fleecing independent merchants, and biasing and manipulating real world markets. DoorDash operates NOT FOR THE BENEFIT OF HUMAN BEINGS, but for the benefit of technology that enables global labor laundering and corporate profiteering for the purpose of institutionalizing appslavery. As for their goal of “building last-mile logistics infrastructure,” they do nothing of the sort; by design. DoorDash’s capital investment goes to marketing and buying markets; which in corporate-speak, they call investing.
It’s worth noting that the concept of gaslighting is closely tied to the DoorDash Singularity; the confusing of worlds. As human beings we need information about our environment to survive. When we’re in a situation where we don’t know rules, markets and patterns that will deliver desired rewards, we look for them.
First, DoorDash ruthlessly uses that search for information against Dashers, substituting game rules and game rewards for real world and economic metrics. Second, DoorDash withholds known and available data for the sole purpose of Dasher exploitation. Both practices exemplify corporate deception and fraud. There’s no viable reason for gamifying and withholding data in an alleged independent contractor Accept/Decline offer scenario, other than to coerce economically unviable Dasher behaviors and exploit the advantages of a simulated market. Again, the game only works with illusion. The real numbers will never add up.
Gaslighting - Word of the Year 2022
“A driver of disorientation and mistrust, gaslighting is ‘the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.’ 2022 saw a 1740% increase in lookups for gaslighting, with high interest throughout the year.” ~Merriam-Webster
The Matrix was a blockbuster film from 1999 that radically shaped our modern cultural concepts and understandings of life as a potential simulation, or as a real simulation of life. For those unfamiliar with the movie, as summary is below.
The scene in question sees Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) offered the choice between a red or blue pill by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne).
Each pill represents something, with the red pill as the path of finding out the truth behind the lies, providing the opportunity to forever change your knowledge and perception of reality.
Taking the blue pill instead, on the other hand, is to choose a life of ignorance, refusing to shatter the illusion you’re living in.
In the context of the film, taking the red pill means that Neo will discover he is basically a slave to a dream world sculpted by machines. Of course, there is no going back after learning something so shocking. If he were to take the blue pill, he would continue to live in this comfortable simulation, but ultimately, it’s a prison.
Morpheus describes the choice in the film as follows: “You take the blue pill…the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
We have no time left for politics, propaganda and lies. We don’t even have time to stop this menace. Yet, we must immediately understand it, lest we perish at our own hand in the form of AI. Arguments submitted for your consideration are neither liberal, nor conservative - nor measured upon any political scale. Politics are light-years away from conscious thought; the only kind that will save us from ourselves.
Critically, arguments are based upon verifiable facts publicly available to anyone. My goal is to connect with you on a much deeper level; as a human consciousness. KNOWING of your exploitation is necessary, but not sufficient - there’s another step to the who that KNOWS. Is it your ego or consciousness? Moving forward, we’ll call your consciousness “you.” Not as one of the readers; rather as the reader right here and now. Also, not as an ego, but something more. You can decide what that is, too. You are the thinker; not the thought.
To understand the DoorDash Singularity fully, we will discern between and identify the shifting states of perception, perspective and consciousness. Additionally, in such fundamental economic analysis of new paradigms like the gig economy and artificial intelligence, we will build upon academic studies and knowledge from the past to understand our current societal trajectory. Today, our resources to seek that knowledge seem virtually without limits.
Finally, Full Dashclosure won’t be consumed with an impending dark future. Now - right now, we have issues to solve. First, we don’t know how markets or governments will adjust. Something better or different could arise, DoorDash could expand into the next super-competitor to Amazon, FedEx and UPS, or DoorDash’s business practices could be recognized as unfair and illegal in nations around the world. Second, once you learn the facts, you’re back in a seat of power in which you can again engage your consciousness. AI is part of our life and we each must learn if, how and when we engage with it.
The real discomfort of life comes from judgments and thinking - specifically too much invasive thinking about our fears, desires and counterproductive attachments otherwise known as the sources of human suffering. We humans really delude ourselves when we believe that it’s possible in the nature of the universe that monolithic good/bad dichotomies even exist.
The Singularity is your worst nightmare and 99% of humans don’t even know it. DoorDash Singularity impacts every human being. It's not something any of us can ignore; poor or rich, gig worker, employee, union worker, community member or teenager. Every human is impacted when corporate profiteering-generated artificial intelligence becomes the omnipotent God of a simulated market and uses human beings trapped in a highly unconscious state, as expendable fuel.
Only we can save ourselves from this existential crisis. Help isn’t on its way from anywhere in the world. Not from regulators, politicians, labor leaders, individual actors, space-aliens, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg - and certainly not from DoorDash CEO and co-founder Tony Xu. DoorDash’s illusions and lies work in broad daylight and in front of audiences that should and could know better if they cared to look. They don’t. Their solution set is limited by their ignorance, hubris, greed, privilege and wealth.
“The Dasher App is a Game World,” part of a new series for Dashers
As a chapter ending palate cleanser, please enjoy some satire. It’s my spleen-venting version of advertising copy from the nauseating Twitter feed of @DoorDashGaming.
Order appslave delivery directly through your gaming system and NEVER leave your fantasy world. Hell - order for two and have your avatar chow down with you. Retweet our advertising and we’ll reward you with cool stuff like hats that your mom won’t complain about.
Join our #StayAsleepForever sweepstakes and don’t let breathing get you down. You’ll only die on the mars in your mind. Stay in your game. Your bowels still move and every thing is fine. Enjoy @DoorDashGaming from your comfy #GamerProGo brand shit-chair. As McDonald’s now advertises (because we took all their labor to enslave as our Dashers, and now they only have drive-throughs surrounded by trash moats; “Going Out Is Overrated.”
Well, better advice was never given or taken. The world of gravity sucks and nobody will ever have sex with you in real life. Strap it on - eat some food and the pain will subside. Sponsors of the NBA, MLS, NCAA, NFL, Pro Gaming - and of course, every Senator and Congressman on Capital Hill; plus a schedule of other totally awesome events around the world.
Maximizing efficiency at a subatomic level of quantum data science - all for your consuming pleasure. Shouldn’t you eat the world before it eats you?! We’ve always heard that makes sense. When that minimization is in fact maximized - dreams come true. Do you know you can totally play “Call of Duty,” and order while a Zombie Nazi is lobbing grenades at you? Tell our Twitter account that’s not sweet, because Dude - we’re so like you it’s stupid.
If there ever was a human being impacted by our absolutely manic focus upon efficiency, we certainly don’t know them. Independent contractors, we think that’s what they’re called; anyway those people who work in the gig industry; we associate the time from their pickups to their drop-offs with our technology system. It’s quite magical! We’re really not sure how they do it. Some say they’re Japanese pro-bike racers - others say unicorns pull chariots of stay-at-home-mothers and other wholesome creatures like homeless veterans and immigrants from Ghana.
Anyhoo - we’re a tech company - logistics really; and we innovated a system where restaurants and retailers of all kinds sell things and pay us because someone told them they should once, and there was a pandemic in progress. Now, we’re everywhere! Are you hungry? YOU GOTTA BE! Free delivery and $20 off on your next order (over $30). Your addictions are our logistics. GAME ON! Life actually IS “like a box of chocolates,” and @DoorDashGaming is always here for you.
Subscribe FREE; and receive updates for “Full Dashclosure, Awakening from the human exploitation of DoorDash Singularity,” and “The Full Dashclosure Audiobook & Podcast”