Ghost Work

Ghost Work

How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building A New Global Underclass

Book - 2019
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Houghton
In the spirit of Nickel and Dimed, a necessary and revelatory expose of the invisible human workforce that powers the web—and that foreshadows the true future of work.

Hidden beneath the surface of the web, lost in our wrong-headed debates about AI, a new menace is looming. Anthropologist Mary L. Gray and computer scientist Siddharth Suri team up to unveil how services delivered by companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Uber can only function smoothly thanks to the judgment and experience of a vast, invisible human labor force. These people doing "ghost work" make the internet seem smart. They perform high-tech piecework: flagging X-rated content, proofreading, designing engine parts, and much more. An estimated 8 percent of Americans have worked at least once in this “ghost economy,” and that number is growing. They usually 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 none.

There are no labor laws to govern this kind of work, and these latter-day assembly lines draw in—and all too often overwork and underpay—a surprisingly diverse range of workers: harried young mothers, professionals forced into early retirement, recent grads who can’t get a toehold on the traditional employment ladder, and minorities shut out of the jobs they want. Gray and Suri also show how ghost workers, employers, and society at large can ensure that this new kind of work creates opportunity—rather than misery—for those who do it.

In the spirit of Nickel and Dimed, a necessary and revelatory expose of the invisible human workforce that powers the web—and that foreshadows the true future of work.


Baker & Taylor
Reveals the vast human network responsible for the successes of such internet giants as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Uber, sharing cautionary insights into how an absence of labor laws is enabling massive labor exploitation. 25,000 first printing.

Book News
Gray, an anthropologist, and Suri, a computational social scientist, draw on surveys and interviews with workers, behavioral experiments and social network analyses of on-demand work platforms, and studies of hirers and founders of technology companies to examine how to stop Silicon Valley from building a global underclass made up of ghost workers, hidden human labor behind mobile phone apps, websites, and artificial intelligence systems. They describe the role of ghost work in building artificial intelligence and the lives of workers who are invisible yet central to the functioning of the internet and the future of automation, detailing their experiences in this new economy and focusing on workers in India and the US and the hidden costs of this work, the history of automation, the experience of working for a computational process, the value people find in ghost work beyond making money, aspects of collaboration, and specific platforms holding themselves accountable for the jobs they create and prioritizing workers. They focus on Amazon's Mechanical Turk, Microsoft's internal Universal Human Relevance System, the startup LeadGenius, and Amara.org, a nonprofit site dedicated to translating and captioning content for people with hearing disabilities. Annotation ©2019 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Reveals the vast human network responsible for the successes of such internet giants as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Uber, sharing cautionary insights into how an absence of labor laws is enabling massive worker exploitation.

Publisher: Boston, Massachusetts :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2019
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781328566249
Branch Call Number: 331.1 GRA
Characteristics: xxxi, 254 pages, 4 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some colour), colour maps, charts ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Suri, Siddharth - Author

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