Ghost Work

Ghost Work

How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building A New Global Underclass

Book - 2019
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"A startling exposé of the invisible human workforce that powers the web--and how to bring it out of the shadows. Hidden beneath the surface of the internet, a new, stark reality is looming--one that cuts to the very heart of our endless debates about the impact of AI. Anthropologist Mary L. Gray and computer scientist Siddharth Suri unveil how the services we use from companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Uber can only function smoothly thanks to the judgment and experience of a vast human labor force that is kept deliberately concealed. The people who do 'ghost work' make the internet seem smart. They perform high-tech, on-demand piecework: flagging X-rated content, proofreading, transcribing audio, confirming identities, captioning video, and much more. The shameful truth is that no labor laws protect them or even acknowledge their existence. They often earn less than legal minimums for traditional work, they have no health benefits, and they can be fired at any time for any reason, or for no reason at all. An estimated 8 percent of Americans have worked in this 'ghost economy,' and that number is growing every day. In this unprecedented investigation, Gray and Suri make the case that robots will never completely eliminate 'ghost work' and the unchecked quest for artificial intelligence could spark catastrophic work conditions if not stopped in its tracks. Ultimately, they show how this essential type of work can create opportunity--rather than misery--for those who do it."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.
ISBN: 9781328566249
1328566242
Branch Call Number: 331.1 GRAY
Characteristics: xxxi, 254 pages, 4 unnumbered pages of plates : color maps, charts (some color) ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Suri, Siddharth - Author

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StarGladiator
Jan 17, 2020

Yikes! The very first author who correctly and accurately explains Fei-Fei Li's machinations - - that self-righteous, grandstanding poseur - - founder of the microwork/micro-task platform, MTurk [and Stanford U. computer science prof, from the PRC originally, affiliated with Google and created ImageNet]. Oooooooooohhhhh, we need more diversity and equality in the workplace, preaches Fei-Fei Li, while working in the exact opposite direction!
[If I sound caustic, it is because I thoroughly despise righteous, holier-than-thou demons who devise the ultra-framework for human exploitation!]
This is a rather dry, academic treatment of that most important trend of our time: microwork with its micro-tasks yielding micro-amounts of money - - when one is lucky enough to actually get micro-paid!
So preditable an outcome from many decades of global labor arbitrage [jobs offshoring/outsourcing/insourcing of foreign visa workers and/or undocumented workers, et cetera, et cetera]. {Nancy Pelosi recently shelved a workers' rights legislation - - the bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO), was introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. - - under the cover of that political theater called "impeach the Trumpster"}
[Sidebar: there's a 2nd or 3rd generation outsourcing/microwork firm, originally in India, now an Indian-American firm based out of California - - which rushes into crises sites, like Haiti after their earthquake, and refugee camps situated around the planet, offering/dispensing microwork to those with their own smartphones. Now that's my definition of the ultimate capitalist jackals, hyenas, human hordes of locusts, et cetera!
How very vile . . . one has to wonder if the wire-pullers, the puppet masters at the top, actually create circumstances for mass refugee flows simply to provide ready pools to access for microwork?!]
When one begins to see the connections and pattern of Fei-Fei Li's ImageNet as an input to the most repressive system in human history - - the Communist Party of China's Social Credit System - - and that ImageNet and other inputs were created on microwork platforms like MTurk, you begin to get a notion of what's really happening to us! ! !
LINKS:
https://gizmodo.com/microsoft-quietly-pulls-its-database-of-100-000-faces-u-1835296212
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/meghara/the-police-state-of-the-future-is-already-here
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/us-money-funding-facial-recognition-sensetime-megvii
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/nancy-pelosi-buries-historic-labor-bill-to-appease-centrists/
https://www.thenation.com/article/crowdsourcing-bad-workers/
https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2018/rise-digital-authoritarianism

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Interesting to note that the same universities invested in the Chinese Communist Party's Social Credit System are also heavily invested in microwork outsourcing!?
Right now union membership in the private sector stands at slightly over 6%, while microwork as a percentage of American employment is now over 8% - - the bad guys are definitely winning!

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