Our team of researchers is working together to prepare an Engineering Research Center proposal for the Sharing Economy – Humans, Automation, REsilience – SHARE
Technology has enabled the sharing economy to flourish, disrupting traditional businesses and transforming the future of transportation, lodging, energy, and other services. The estimated impact of sharing economy practices on society is striking, directly affecting the lives of more than a quarter of the adults living in the US. However, the rapid pace of change in new sharing economy technology and practices has resulted in limited understanding of the dynamic interactions of these platforms with society and each other. The lag in understanding is dangerous as disruptive changes continue to accelerate. Further, while new technology alters the dynamic interactions in how services are provided and distributed, fair and appropriate regulations that govern these novel forms of delivery have not kept up and adapted.
SHARE’s Vision is a world in which sharing economy platforms are intentionally engineered for socially desirable outcomes (sustainable growth and equity, reduced risk, improved resilience), considering their long-term sustainability, cyber-security, resiliency, resource usage efficiency, impact on the environment, workforce and community relations, interactions with public service, and value-creation.
SHARE’s Mission is to maximize the positive impact of the sharing economy through integrated comprehensive, trans-disciplinary research that will document and explore changing dynamics, develop new technologies and algorithms for optimizing design, operation, incentives, and security, and identify and compare regulatory and data sharing practices that influence the real-world implementation of sharing economy platforms.
SHARE’s Approach: While our vision and mission are relatively complete, our understanding of the barriers and needed research thrusts for this emerging field of “share engineering” is still under development, particularly as we expand our collaboration beyond engineering, seeking convergence with computer scientists, social scientists, and regulation experts, as well as industry and government stakeholders. There must be a shared understanding of the domain languages, barriers, associated research questions and thrusts, along with workforce training needs, to truly be prepared to enact the mission of SHARE. We propose to build this convergence by organizing a multi-disciplinary workshop that will facilitate the initial discussion between the disciplines, sectors, and stakeholders and guide us to build an effective ERC team. The workshop’s outcomes will be disseminated via a web-site and summary report in the short term, and an edited book in the long term for broader impact.
SHARE’s Anticipated Impacts: The proposed activities will start what we believe is one of the first convergent dialogues about the sharing economy, to ultimately build a trans-disciplinary research team and a diverse stakeholder community that can synthesize the outcomes of the workshop into meaningful applied focus areas with significant societal impact and sound fundamental research areas. Further, the results from the workshop and the resulting publications will provide insights and articulate the complexities about the sharing economies, which incorporate engineering, data science, public policy, and regulatory features. These insights are expected to support the broadening of the multidisciplinary research community addressing this critical research area. We will also ensure that the workshop will be instrumental in outlining a set of educational activities necessary for training the next generation of engineers, computer scientists, social scientists, and lawyers in developing, operating, and regulating sharing economy platforms.