Future of Work: The Gig is Up?

With California launching new policies regulating employees and contractors, how do we make gig work good work?

Timo Christ / Alamy Stock Photo

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


October 23, 2019 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



The gig economy has been at the center of public debate, with questions regarding worker rights on the forefront. How can workers in the platform economy have their interests represented and negotiate for better pay and working conditions?

In light of the 100th Anniversary of the International Labour Organization the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, swissnex San Francisco, the United Nations Association of the USA San Francisco Chapter (UNASF), the Goethe-Institut San Francisco, and the University of Geneva are organizing an event on the gig economy, a phenomenon which has emerged as a consequence of digitalization accompanied from a societal shift in business and work culture.

A recent bill passed in California in early September highlights the drive toward new legislation around the so-called “gig economy,” raising legal questions for work regulations for companies such as Uber and Lyft. This talk examines these questions in the context of the Future of Work — and how our way of working will evolve within the digital age.

The panel discussion will be accompanied by a video project called Labour in a Single Shot, which is a project by German curator, video-artist, filmmaker couple Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann. Since 2011 Farocki and Ehmann have initiated video production workshops in 18 cities worldwide. The 1-2 min. short videos submitted by professional and amateur filmmakers from all around the world show work situations which are completely different from each other. Work in Bangalore varies from work in Boston. The project gives a broad idea of what work means in different cultures today. 


6:00pm — doors open
6:30pm — opening remarks by Thomas Schneider (Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco), Gioia Deucher (swissnex San Francisco), Bettina Wodianka (Goethe Institut SF), and Mary Steiner (UNA SF Chapter)
6:40pm — introduction from Jale Yoldas (Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco) & Nicola Ruffo (swissnex San Francisco)
6:45pm — Uma Rani Amara, ILO (via Skype)
6:55pm — q&a between Natalie Foster and Uma Rani Amara
7:10pm — Dr. Jordan Brandt, CEO, Inpher
7:20pm — Dr. Maria Mexi, University of Geneva
7:30pm — Christoph Küffer, People-Analytix
7:40pm — Break
7:55pm — panel discussion
8:25pm — q&a
8:45pm — reception
10:00pm — doors close


Additional speakers to be announced.

Dr. Uma Rani Amara is Senior Economist at the Research Department and joined the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2008. She holds a Ph.D. in Development Economics from the University of Hyderabad, India. Prior to joining the ILO she was an Associate Professor at Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad, India. She has also held Visiting Fellow positions at Institute of Developing Economies, Japan; ETH-NADEL, Zürich and Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris. Her main research interest lies in development economics, the informal sector, minimum wages, social policies and gender. Her current research focuses on minimum wages in developing economies, income inequality, global supply chains in the electronics sector and the platform or gig economy, wherein she explores how labour and social institutions could be strengthened to address economic and social inequality.

Dr. Jordan Brandt is the CEO and cofounder at Inpher, a Secret Computing company pioneering privacy-preserving analytics and AI. As a Technology Futurist, Jordan’s research and insight on cybersecurity, AI, robotics and 3D printing have been featured in print and live broadcast internationally on Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes, Financial Times, Wired and other business and technology press. Jordan is the former CEO and cofounder of Horizontal Systems, acquired by Autodesk in 2011. He went on to serve as the director of Autodesk’s $100m investment fund, while also teaching and conducting research as a Consulting Professor of Engineering at Stanford University. Jordan completed his undergraduate work at the University of Kansas and his PhD in Building Technology at Harvard. In 2014 he was selected as one of Forbes’ ‘Next-Gen Innovators’.

Natalie Foster is the co-chair and co-founder of the Economic Security Project, a network to support exploration and experimentation of a guaranteed income, and a senior fellow at the The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative. In 2013, Natalie was founding CEO of Peers.org to support people who work in the gig economy. Prior, she was the CEO and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for people–driven economic change, with Van Jones. Previously, Natalie served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) and the Democratic National Committee. Natalie built the first digital department at the Sierra Club and served as the deputy organizing director for MoveOn.org. She’s been awarded fellowships at the Institute for the Future, Rockwood Leadership Institute and New America California, and is a board member of the California Budget and Policy Center, the Change.org global foundation, and Liberation in a Generation, a project to close the racial wealth gap. She also serves as a member of the Harvard Law School’s Clean Slate Project to reimagine labor law.

Christoph KüfferChristoph Küffer has been active in the Human Resources sector for over twenty years, as a specialist, Head of Human Resources and most recently as an entrepreneur. As founding partner and managing director of People-Analytix, he combines HR knowledge with big data and artificial intelligence in order to offer an exciting automated career advice service for individuals. In 2014 he launched www.spotcoaching.com, a leadership hotline for managers. He is the author of two HR books (betterboss) and a lecturer for digital HR at several academies. Christoph was part of the Swiss Olympic Rowing Team in 1992.


Dr. Maria Mexi currently works as an Expert at the International Labour Organization (ILO) on issues pertaining to social dialogue and the future of work in the digital economy. She is also a Senior Research Associate at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. She holds a Doctorate degree (DPhil) in Politics and International Relations from the University of Oxford (St. Anne’s College), an MPhil in Political Theory from the University of Oxford (St. Hugh’s College), an MSc in European Social Policy with Distinction from the London School of Economics, and a BA in History with High Distinction from the American College of Greece – Deree College. She has also completed post-doctoral research at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Geneva, where she is co-leading three transnational H2020 and SNIS-funded projects on the gig economy, social and solidarity economy, and on migration. Dr Mexi’s professional experience has been gained in academic social research as well as employment and social policy advice at national and international levels. Over the years, she has advised governments in several countries (Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, and the Caribbean Community) and international organizations, and provided expert opinion in issues related to the harmonization of national policy and governance tools with EU and UN frameworks.


Labour in a Single Shot covers a variety of cities including Bangalore, Rio de Janeiro, Hanoi, Moscow, Boston, Berlin, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Hangzhou, Lisbon, Mexico City, Lodz, Vilnius, Marseille, Johannesburg, Ciudad Juarez, and Tel Aviv. On October 22 the films from Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Vilnius, and Marseille will be presented in large format, projected at swissnex San Francisco.

Swiss Touch

Swiss Touch is an event series and social media campaign pushing Swiss innovation and creative ideas forward, through the participation of prominent Swiss and American stakeholders, a selection of compelling topics and unusual locations. Follow their journey throughout the U.S. at swisstouchusa.org.

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