Along with the rapid growth and rise to prominence of food delivery platforms, concerns have also risen about the conditions of the "gig workers" underpinning this growth. Our analysis on data derived from a real-world food delivery platform across three large cities from India show that there is significant inequality in the money food delivery agents earn. We focus on the problem of ensuring fair income distribution among agents while also maintaining timely food delivery. Unfortunately, the problem is not only NP-hard but also inapproximable in polynomial time. We overcome this computational bottleneck through a novel matching algorithm called FAIRFOODY, achieving upto 10 times improvement in equitable income distribution, albeit with higher cost to the platform. We further propose WORK4FOOD, which provides income guarantees to delivery agents, while minimizing platform costs and ensuring customer satisfaction. To incorporate these objectives, WORK4FOOD balances supply and demand by controlling the number of agents in the system and providing dynamic payment guarantees to agents based on factors such as agent location, ratings, etc. The above two works have appeared in AAAI and IJCAI conferences this year.
Dr. Abhijnan Chakraborty is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. He is also associated with the School of Artificial Intelligence and the School of Information Technology at the same institute. His research interests fall under the broad theme of Computing and Society, covering the research areas of Social Computing, Information Retrieval and Fairness in Machine Learning. In the past, he has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Germany and Microsoft Research India. During PhD, he was awarded the Google India PhD Fellowship and the Prime Minister's Fellowship for Doctoral Research. He regularly publishes in top-tier computer science conferences including WWW, KDD, AAAI, AAMAS, CSCW and ICWSM. He has won the INAE Young Engineer 2022 award, the best paper award at ASONAM'16 and best poster award at ECIR'19. He is one of the recipients of an internationally competitive research grant from the Data Transparency Lab to advance his research on fairness and transparency in algorithmic systems. More details about him can be found at https://www.cse.iitd.ac.in/~abhijnan/