Ngai Keung Chan

Ph.D. Candidate in Communication

Department of Communication, Cornell University

About Me

Hi! My name is Ngai Keung (Oliver) Chan. I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. I study the role of algorithms in transforming labor processes in the digitally-enabled gig economy. Using qualitative methods, my dissertation research focuses on how digitally-enabled service workers encounter, interpret, and manage algorithmic performance metrics (e.g., ratings, rankings, reviews, etc.) as part of their daily work practices.

In addition to my doctoral research, I am interested in studying the politics of urban space and social movements (with a particular geographic focus on Hong Kong, my hometown). Before coming to Cornell, I spent a year of fieldwork in a multi-ethnic street market in Hong Kong, studying hawkers’ precarious work practices. I have also collaborated on research projects concerning the production and appropriation of public spaces for collective actions in Hong Kong.

My research has appeared in such journals as New Media & Society, Communication, Culture & Critique, Surveillance & Society, Media and Communication, and Space and Culture, among others.


  • Metric Culture
  • Gig Economy
  • Sociology of Quantification
  • Critical Data Studies
  • Politics of Platforms and Algorithms
  • The Impacts of Technology on Service Work


  • Ph.D. Candidate in Communication, 2016 - Present

    Cornell University

  • MPhil. in Communication, 2016

    The Chinese University of Hong Kong

  • BSSc. in Government and Public Administration, 2014

    The Chinese University of Hong Kong