Today marks the timely release of Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri’s new book Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass. Here at Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) and Amara, we are excited to have been a part of this extraordinary work, which features our sustainability program Amara on Demand.
Ghost Work is a deep look into the experiences of the invisible army of millions of workers in today’s on-demand economy. Along with its ethnographic accounts of gig economy workers in India and the US, Ghost Work sheds light on how a number of multinational companies operate. Even as companies extol the virtues of robotics, artificial intelligence, and the internet, in reality they rely on humans and crowdwork to finish what Gray and Suri call “automation’s last mile.” Ghost Work sheds light on the fact that the automation technology that makes our everyday lives more convenient, is surprisingly, the result of both machine and human labor.
Ghost Work prominently features Amara On Demand (AOD) as a promising and alternative path for crowdwork. To better understand AOD, the authors of Ghost Work broadly surveyed the AOD linguist community and conducted face-to-face ethnographic interviews with a significant number of linguists. Many of the conclusions presented in the book are drawn directly from the experiences and stories of these linguists. As an organization, we are very excited to have been in a position to contribute to the research. We are also grateful to the authors for the thoughtfulness and great care they took in working with members of AOD.
The book came out today. If you are interested in learning more about the current state of crowdwork, and what can be done to ensure a future of work that benefits everyone, we hope you will give Ghost Work a read.
If you would like to learn more about Amara or Amara On Demand, click here.