Mary L. Gray on Re-assembling the Assembly Line: Digital Labor Economies and Demands for an Ambient Workforce [AUDIO]

November 5th, 2015

Crowdwork — “the process of taking tasks that would normally be delegated to an employee and distributing them to a large pool of online workers, the ‘crowd,’ in the form of an open call” — has become an entire category of global employment we could never have imagined existing a few short years ago.

In this talk, Mary L. Gray — Senior Researcher at Microsoft Social Research — presents results of a two-year ethnographic and qualitative study of the cultural meaning, political implications, and ethical demands of crowdwork in India and the United States.

The study examines the emergence of an Ambient Workforce — a distributed, always-on, at-the-ready, expansive labor market, dependent on a mix of intense bursts of activity AND a “long tail” of idling — and how society might help shape this explosively growing sector.

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