Since the publication of Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri’s book Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass, readers from around the world have been able to learn more about Amara On Demand (AOD), a sustainability program of the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF). Through discussions with AOD linguists, the authors saw a more supportive and humanistic approach to doing work that is distributed remotely.
Ghost Work describes a vast and global hidden labor pool that provides critical human judgment to ensure the accuracy and usefulness of computer automation. This largely invisible industry is worth an estimated $25 billion dollars annually, with roughly 5–8% of the workforce based in the US. The authors learned about the people behind the work by conducting face-to-face interviews, sharing online surveys, and even hiring via the platforms in question. They build a convincing argument for the immense economic and public value that this typically unacknowledged workforce creates for our society.
Earlier this month, Gray spoke with the Data & Society Research Institute for their Databite series, a regular program of live talks and conversations. As part of the event, Executive Director of PCF and co-founder of Amara Dean Jansen joined in for a Q&A at the end of the talk to share some of his experience growing the AOD program. Watch the video here:
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