Workers of the World, Connect! Tech Innovations and Organizational Change...
Hello my name is Mary gray I'm co-chairing. With Jackie O'Neal on, this session one, of the last of the day on workers of the world connect. So. Hopefully you're here for that session and we, one, of our panelists. Louise Hickman, is remote. She was stopped. At customs in, Heathrow, sure. Many of us can feel. A lot of empathy for that and many. Of us probably feel deep embarrassment, for that but. We have a video that she's recorded, so, the, flow of the day the goal of this is to get to conversation, as quickly as possible so, each, of our panelists, has prepared, ten, minutes of remarks and, we have a few questions that, we've we've. Decided, we'd like to start, with among. The panelists, and we. Can as, quickly as possible move, to your questions and have some discussion, but. The the framing for this is that, several of us are working on kind of the practicalities. Of what kinds of tools facilitate. Communication. Conversation. A particularly thinking, about mobile and conversational, agents, as a way, of a. Promoting. Agency, and connection, among workforces, but, of course that has to take into consideration how, our workforce is radically. Changing they're. Not in one single location they, have a range of tasks, projects, that are doing all of that complexity, we want to bring to the table and think about that complexity, and not, just within the. Narrow scope of productivity. But. Also thinking, about the social and political consequences, of. That connection or disconnection, so. With, that we'll start with Louise's. Presentation. And then, we'll move to our other panelists, we're going to be working from from. The podium. Just to make things as smooth as possible for Louise who's going to be tuned. Into our conversation. And she'll join us as much as we can, make that happen through, their limited, AV in the world today but our amazing AV, team that, has been facilitating. This for. The latter part of the session, so with that thank you. In. Thinking, about the, collaborative, relationship. Between real-time, writers, and their. Nurses, I'm thinking. About, relationship. At the site of social. Exchange. Rather. Than. Captioning. As a consumer. Product or. Expanded. I process. That. Provided. By on-demand, platforms. Instead. I'm thinking, about captioning. I'd, provided. By real-time writers, and the. Work they do on, their dictionary, the maintenance, work the up key were by, maintaining, contact. With their deaf and disabled, users. By. Thinking, about their work and thinking about the value of access. Work how. Do we protect the. Future, of what, they do and, how, do we maintain the. Relationship. Between the. Machine, the, sonography. Machine and, the captioning, work they do how, do we embed this relationship. And to, assist them think, not. About automated. Text, but, thinking, about the. Captioning. Process and. The, relationships. That you've maintained, and. Established. By users. And worker. Themselves. To, think about this relationship. In, the context. Of on, demands, on, demand, captioning, services, appearing, online. We. Can think about how, this. Posed. A threat to, the work that on, real-time. Writers. Do. By. Thinking about this word and I I think it's interesting, that. Increasingly. Real-time. Were. A real-time, demand. It's increasingly. Becoming, a part of our, digital lexicon. But. For deaf. And hard-of-hearing, users. This, has been around for, thirty years within the beginning, of the 19th, as a result. Of the ADEA and section, 504. So. The. Real-time work, that, scenographer, do have, had been developed, over the last 13, years in ways they. Have become. Burtie of, taking. Spoken. Speech, and turning. It into. Real-time, test in, ways that, they become resourceful, in, working. With their clients to develop a, meaningful. Dictionary. For, them, to news in classroom, situations. In. But in this, sense today, I'm really talking, about the classroom, where. Real. Time were exist across, three sections. Of speech detect industries, and that in education.
Courtroom. Work and, broadcasting. And they, are interlinked, in a way that, they become important. To maintain, the. Integrity. And, the ethics. Of the work they do. So. In. Thinking. About that relationship and, thinking. About the value of, access. Workers, I very. Much time trying. To caution against, the idea that, we. Can automate. Some store, L to make captions or some statement, or work they, had an impact on the. News. Or deaf, news and hard-of-hearing, as. They, lose, access to. Worker. Themself. Recently. A major. Broadcasting. Group has. Shifted. To new. Automated. Pets. Powered. By Watson, software to, instead, of using, real-time, captioner. And this, had an invitation. On how and. Will. Earn deaf. And hard-of-hearing people, can access material. So. Thank You Louise for, starting, us off and I each of the speakers are going to give you a bit, about their own work how it connects to the themes of this panel. And then, also give you a very specific case. That they're working on to be able to put that on the table for our discussion, today. Our. Next speaker is James, Woodcock, from Oxford, University. Can, I do the huns three yeah. Don't. Can. You hear me now wonderful. So. I'm going to speak about technology, and work which of course is ironic. Given I didn't get the microphone, to work at first, and. What I want to talk about is some of the ethnographic projects. That I have been, part, of to think about work because. I think one of the things that has been absent, from the conference in various ways is, workers. We've. Talked a lot about the future of work and I think this session is the only one that actually gestures. Explicitly. To the fact that work, involves. Workers, in various ways, and. For the first at the graphic project that I did I worked, undercover in a call center, and. Now. The future of work and talking about work is a kind of fashionable, thing to be talking about but. When I did my PhD I was the only student who wanted to talk about work and, people. Said to me know why would. You spend your research, money talking, to workers and hanging around in a call center when you could be doing a million other interesting things luckily. It's become a little bit more fashionable to talk about work and and. The experience, in the call center I want to talk about briefly and then I want to give an example that speaks to the. Theme of this session is. I, think call centers remain a very important, example of, work to think about when we think about the role of Technology. Because. For many workers in call centers, technology. Has been introduced. With. Very little ability for workers to say this, is a good idea this, is a bad idea this makes work better or makes work worse I don't. Know how many of you have ever worked in a call center. Okay. We've got one or two how, many of us have ever called a call center and had a less than good experience. Okay. So you've had a sly insight, into what it's like working in a call center. When. I worked in a call center I sold life insurance, to people, who didn't want to buy life, insurance. I'm. Not, a particularly good at selling life insurance to people but. The experience, for many workers was, that everything you did was time for the second. How. Long you've spent on calls, how. Long you spent in between calls every, sale was counted, everything was digitally recorded, and so, there was an intense feeling, of supervision, in the workplace every. Moment, was expected, to be productive you were kind of constantly, meant to be finding ways to, sell life insurance on, a cold call now. Why I think it's important, to think about these kind of examples, of call, center work in the UK is broadly considered to be bad work it. Has a huge turnover people, don't want to work in this sector is. I think call center work is very important, for understanding the.
Growth Of new forms of work today so. Platform, work delivering. Food or, working. For uber or so on and what. I want to give for my example. Is. A story, about a gig worker in the UK and how, they've interacted with technology, in various ways now. While, I worked in a call centre and I was eventually fired for not being good enough for working in the call centre but that's a, whole, nother story. Indeed. You'll gain I'm much better at making bad jokes, with a microphone, than I am at selling life insurance and. We've. Had a huge growth of of platforms, like uber eats in London. The. Most dominant one is called delivery so this is a food, delivery platform. Where. People either cycle, or they deliver food on a on a motorbike, now. For. Various reasons I'm not a very confident cyclist, instead of actually working for. Delivery I spent a long long periods of time since. 2016. Interviewing, delivery drivers and talking. To them about their experience, of work. Delivery. Like many of these platforms is algorithmically, driven, and. There's. Very little contact, with anything, like an organizational, chart at, delivery, and, so, I started co-writing, papers, with a delivery driver, somebody. Who I'd met by talking to when he was delivering pizza, and, I think his story, and. Many, of these workers it is his, story. Because of the the gendering of this kind of work I think, speaks to the experience, of the application, of technology, to this kind of work so this. Driver had never met anybody who. Worked for delivery he'd. Never met an employee of the company he. Arrived one day at a shipping container in, southeast London where. He was given a, uniform. He had the app downloaded, on his phone. And if anything ever went wrong he would call somebody, it wasn't directly employed by the company so his. Experience, of the organization, was, very different to what most of us might. Expect. He. Had an interest in discovering how. Much he cycled. What. His kind, of performance, was at work and whenever, he asked for performance, statistics, he. Never got a reply and so. One of the projects that we developed. Was. Self tracking, himself, as he cycled around London trying. To make sense of the experience from, his perspective. Seeing. You. Know how fast he went where he went to the, most common routes how much money he made and so on and. So we produced a series of these large. Maps which maybe this would be the point where a PowerPoint might. Have been useful but, heat maps of his own performance, all. Of which is data that the platform, had but. Wouldn't give over to him and. So. Whenever he had, contact, with the platform what they would tell him is not you've. Performed five. Out of ten, or you've. Met your statistics, or whatever he, was always told. Whether. Or not he had met a performance, statistic or not he, was never told whether he'd comfortably, met it he. Was never told by how many seconds just this, week you, have met performance, metric a B C and D and so. He said the experience, of this work was very very difficult because. He didn't know whether he was meeting the targets, by one second, by a minute by three minutes or whatever it was and. I think this is a kind of interesting problem for food delivery I don't. Know how many of you want your pizza to arrive in 20. Minutes exactly. Usually. I forget, if I order something and if it's 25 minutes it's not a big deal for me but. For this platform is an incredible. Demand. On making sure that every possible second, is shaved, off the, delivery time, and, so. We, did a whole series of interviews, we wrote these papers together and. At, one point I asked this delivery driver what's the hardest thing about, working. For a food delivery platform, and, what. I thought he would say is. It's. Hard not having a real manager you know it's hard not being able to to. Challenge if I don't make, a performance, metric or whatever it is it's, hard not having a proper employment, contract you. Know it's hard not having, workplace. Rights or whatever it is but he didn't say any of these things and what he said I think is a really, important, point about this new kind of work, is. He said I get up in the morning and I'm. Not really a breakfast, person okay. Quite. Sure where this is going, so. I go to my first job where, I work in a cafe and I serve people coffee on, their way to work. It. Gets the lunchtime I try and have a quick snack and then, I deliver other people's food over lunchtime I then. Go back to working my third job where, I try. Successfully. And unsuccessfully, to sell people books in a bookshop, so. They get to the end of my shift and, I. Try and have some kind of snack and then, I deliver other people's food for, the rest of the evening he.
Said The hardest thing is once I've done all of that cycling, and worked all of those jobs is when. I get home having, enough energy to. Cook enough calories that I can repeat the entire process again the next day and I. Think in a sense when we think of these platforms, whether it's uber or delivery, we. Can often think about the technological, innovations, of, algorithmically. Driven demand of scheduling, and so on we can think of the kind of technology, that's used to it, but. What that driver said is a damning indictment that. The. Majority of his customers are workers who are too tired to cook, their own food. We. Have very very glossy marketing. In the UK of. Delivery. Will bring you crushed avocado on, toast and sushi, for your millennial. Lifestyle, in central London the reality is it's mostly cheap food for workers who are tired he. Says that the major problem, for him is to deliver calories, to people who are too tired that, it makes him too tired to eat himself and, I. Think the, reason I tell this story is, to. Remind people that when we talk about work and, we talk about the future of work this. Has impacts, and implications, for the people that do it and. Particularly. When we talk about productivity. If. You see a map, of different points. Drivers. And customers, and restaurants, and, they about how to optimize that, in various ways, what. That means for the person that's delivering the food is. Higher risk of road traffic accidents, being, more tired on their way home all to, shave one or two minutes. Off a delivery time and, so. I think when we have these kind of discussions and think about technology, we. Have to think about the way that technology is enacted, in practice, in various ways and. What I want to finish on is to talk about how this driver, along. With many other drivers, has used technology, themselves, to. Think about how they can reorient, a, a platform, like, this. I'm. Never. Entirely sure how. Popular whatsapp is in in the US but in the UK it's fairly ubiquitous. Particularly. With migrant communities, which, make up many of the drivers on these platforms and when, I asked this driver do you speak to other people in, your workplace you, know they're kind of in the city said of course I do let. Me invite you to one of these whatsapp, groups with. Three or four hundred drivers, in the neighborhood sharing.
Experiences, About the best restaurants. To wait outside and so on is. In amongst the kind of gaps in the algorithms, of these platforms. Workers. Find new uses for technology. And often. Those are to push back against the worst aspects, of these platforms but. They also give us the possibility of imagining, how, technology, could be used in, very, very different ways thank, you very much. Thank. You Jamie, Jackie, O'Neill from Microsoft, research versus. Is. Our next speaker. I. Do. Can you hear me is. My mic on I. Know. Yeah. Okay. So I'm, Jackie O'Neill I'm, an ethnographer at, Microsoft. Research in, India. And. My research interest, is thinking. About how we can design technology. To. Help people. Have. Better working lives, I have. A focus, on the global south but not only on the global south and, the topic of this workshop, is very close, or this panel is very close to my heart I've, been studying gig, where crowd, work and informal, economies since 2011, and I've. Been designing workplace. Technology that hopefully, fits with workers, practice, for, much longer than that so. It, was great actually that they became before me because I. Want. To talk about two parallel, workplace, trends that we see transforming. The world of work the. First is the adoption of chat has a workplace, tool, and. The second, is the rise of the. Platform, economy, so, if you don't see a connection bear with me I'm hopefully, going to draw one. So. Workplace. Adoption of chat, WeChat. What's, up are becoming. Almost as ubiquitous, as, the smartphone's on which they run, and. One of the really interesting things, is that we, see workers using, them they. Are widely used by many of the 2.7. Billion. Workers, who, don't work in offices, they work in transportation, they. Work in retail they work in agriculture, healthcare, government, banking. All of these things. And. I'm going to talk about two, trends, in the, adoption of chat in the workplace the. First is that, chats. Often, chat. Adoption, is often, worker, driven which is something that really intrigues me as a workplace technology specialist. And. My, studies, of. King government, where healthcare show, that people are adopted, for the workplace because, it's lightweight its flexible. Its mobile, and very, crucially, it's easily to be easy to understand, and to adapt to the local, needs of, non-technical. People, it. Doesn't require, much. Of a ramp up much of a learning curve because most people are actually using, it already for their personal, lives so they can just adapt it to their work lives and then what's really interesting you can send text, messages, you can send voice, messages, you. Can send photos now, of course you can take a photo pretty much anything you can take a photo of a handwritten, paper document, you, can take a photo of a typed document you, can take a photo of a screen you can take a photo of some plants in a field you can take a photo of yourself and. You. Can also share videos, and documents. And links it, is amazing. What type of workflows, you, can construct from. These pieces. And. It, supports just-in-time workflow, so you're on the move you're out and about you can send a message right there and then you don't have to wait you get to a desktop and many of the workers I work with don't even have a desktop. And. One of the things that we find is that it's the glue chat, is often the glue that, sticks together, diverse.
Systems. Which can be paper and can be digital, but, which don't talk to one another and they're often not flexible, enough to, fit the needs of the workers and it's 60 systems, together with their diverse work practices. Of, highly. Mobile, time, pressed workers, so. That's the first chat trend the. Second, one is that. Chat. Is being, adopted as, a way of supporting new. Organizational. Forms. So. If you're thinking about, providing how, you want to provide services. Well, needed services, to, rural. People, in, the. Global South. Quite. Often the companies, that do this have, to create. Very innovative. Organizational. Forms they, have high, distributed. Workforces, and new, business models. So. I want to give you the example here of well told story now. Well told story is a youth empowerment, magazine. It's. Created. By a small to, small teams one, in Nairobi, and one in Daraa Salaam, and. It. Tells stories. To. Get across important, messages, from, financial, literacy, to, sexual, health and. It has over 1 million subscribers this, is a monthly magazine. They. Could not survive without their network of 3,000, distributors. These distributors, don't work for them ok, they, are small, local. Entrepreneurs. Young. People, basically with small businesses, all over Tanzania. And Kenya, you. Might it might be a barber shop it, might be a cafe, and. Basically they stock the magazine for free they don't get paid for this partly. To support youth empowerment and partly to increase, football through their business. And. Then the other thing that well told story does, is it has to take the pulse of young people, regularly. Through surveys, and the problem with this is if you've got people all over Kenya, and people all over Tanzania. Distance. Is a barrier, and increases, costs so. One thing that we're doing is that they're managing this distributed. Ecosystem. Because they've adopted chat. Tools which have programmable. Api's, so, they're creating new workflows. And new ways to communicate so, this can be talking to their distributors, and engaging, their customers, and it's really. Interesting, to see these highly, innovative. Organizations. Managing. To, get, services, across, countries, like this. So. Now. I want to move on to the second, workplace, trend which is the rise of the platform economy, I've. Been studying crowd. Work through I am as a Mechanical Turk in the US and India and. Platform. Work physical. Work such, as ride-sharing this, is Ola. India's uber and what, she studied uber in India now. Digital. Work and, physical. Work are really, quite different there different types of work and they have different workforces, but, what's really interesting is.
When, They're mediated, by a platform, and they're managed, algorithmically, there's, a remarkably, consistent worker. Experience. Now. Myself. And people, at this table and, many, people in this room have, documented. Very well, some of the challenges, for workers, of. Working, on these platform, economies, so I just want to highlight a, few of, them briefly, so. The first is the platform acts as a digital middleman, so it's in the middle between, the customers, all the people with the work and the people doing the work and it arose independence. Because you can no longer negotiate. About your jobs. Most. Of these platforms deliberately. Design, collaboration, out of the workplace. But. Work still collaborate, and we see networks, of digital. And. Physical networks, of colleagues, who help and support one another such. As your whatsapp group of workers. For. Delivery and of, course algorithmic, management, treats, all workers as interchangeable. Units. Distinguished. Only by their ratings whereas of course we know that individual, people have, individual, skills and talents, and requirements. So. We have two trends, on the one side we have the rather positive, trend, which, is that we're seeing lightweight. Mobile, tools, being, adopted by work workers, to support their practices, and. Supporting. New organizational. Forms that can provide services. That adapt to local needs often, in extreme, circumstances. On. The, other hand we have a rather negative trend, which, is the rise of the platform, economy, which. Certainly. Provides jobs. And. Customer. Value, however. The, way that platforms, are currently, designed tends to be adversarial. And doesn't, really benefit, the workers. But. It doesn't, have to be this way we. Can think of creative, ways of bringing these two trends together. To. Create a better future at, work. So. I want. To talk about two, just very very briefly, as its just my position statement, I could go on for hours of course two small, trends, that we should think about one, is thinking about how we might empower, workers. Because. We can't rely on the platforms, to do it but. The second is we should also think about how we can design better platforms. Well some of the bigger players might never be going, to change their work practices, or care about their workers there are lots of smaller platforms, out there which, really do care about their workers, if only they could think about how they could be designed better.
So. If we think about empowering. Workers and go and beyond the platform, we. Can think about ways we might use chat, to. Create a connected, workforce. So building, the relationships, back between, the workers, and this is important, for friendship, motivation. Technical. Troubleshooting. Collaboration. Support, it's, so important, for so many things and, when we augment, chat with programmable, api's, we, can think about how we might build worker. Platforms. And worker centric, platforms, that, enable workers. To connect. In. Communities, of practice but, also geographic, communities, and. We can these, platforms, can be used for reporting, grievances, and supporting, collective, action and also, for enabling, workers, to organize to. Get together to. Work together in, more, flexible. Ways than, the current platform, economy, allows. And. Then the second one is we can think about how we design better platforms. And basically, you could quite simply, start designing, chat, into, these platforms, themselves it doesn't have to be a separate thing and we can do this to build the relationship, back between the employers, or customers, and the, workers, this, might be long term in crowd work you might actually want to have a long term engagement with, your workers and we actually saw an Amazon, Mechanical Turk people, worked around amt, to have long term relationships, with their workers or in. Physical, work it might just be for a short time you're just coming together to get a service done you might want to talk about it. It. Also can be used to build relationships. Between the platforms, and platforms. And the workers. Platforms. Tend to be rather opaque, and unapproachable. And you could think about how you could have facilitated. Chat, groups to, offer both peer support, and to, reduce, the adversarial. Relationship, between the platform, in the workers. And. Finally. To build relationships, between the workers for all the reasons we talked about on the previous slide. So. I hope, that I've shown, you some. Ideas, for how we can think about building a more positive future thank you. And. In some ways I'm going to, I'm. Hitting. A drum. Beat here that, you're hearing across all of the presentations. And. I'm I'm, going to just. Selfishly, plug this book in the co-author with Siddharth, Suri but, mostly I'm going to pull some very specific, findings. From the book to be able to cue up thinking about this connection, but, also to. Frame. It within what, are the challenges of connection. Alone and. Where we need to shore up how we're thinking about, fostering. Identification. And collective action what, would that look like, so connection, beyond connection collaboration. That that's meaningful, and recognized, and. You, can't really do research like this without not without feeling, incredibly, indebted to the hundreds. Of people who gave time to be able to share their experiences let, us into their homes the thousands of people who did surveys, across the four platforms that, we studied and two countries, and it was really very much an interdisciplinary team effort, so. I. Do. Want to clear, the the weeds here what do we mean by ghost work the. Term itself is actually meant to point to the work conditions it's not the, workers, themselves workers. Are quite aware of each other is to say what is it that we're doing when. We create work that's not just a niche job if we think about the design of on-demand. Labor, but. Rather see, it as the dismantlement, of full-time employment, so. Right now we tend to talk about these kinds, of platform, ad ization on-demand. Jobs, as specific, kinds, of jobs rather, than what does it look like to orient to work that's project, driven project. Specific, and at. This point defined by contracts, short contracts, that can be seconds, or. Minutes or hours, or months. But the expectation. Is that they end because, they're oriented around, teams, of people coming. To a project this. Might be a familiar map, for how does this work, how, does this on demand work, work but. Think about it in this somewhat static. Two-sided. Market with an intermediary, and. Imagine. All of the kinds, of businesses that can coerce through, connect. Ding at least in part this task a task-based. Contractor. And work that. Can at, least in part so. A source, schedule. Managed, ship. And bill a project. That can course through the internet and an. Api now. If you use that framework that's, a lot of different work that's. Most, of the kinds, of work we do in this room it can be it can be teaching it. Can be writing it can be event planning it can be AV work it, can be anything that's involving, the, kind of deliberative. Spontaneous.
Actions, That people do today and being, able to match it with this approach, that's quite profoundly. I would argue revolutionary. About, how it can orient, people to projects, it, doesn't say go into an office and do a thing it says, I have this project who's, coming, that's, a very different orientation, to work and with a different orientation to. Work the, invitation. Of all of these platform, approaches, is to say all comers, what. We found across all four platforms and, this is fairly common in platform, economies, but also in citizen science or any approach, that's task based open. Call is that, there's a good core, group we, called them always on again. This is across all the platforms they're. The folks there's a good core, group that are doing most of the work they're, picking most of the projects, up that. Wasn't distinctive. About Amazon. Mechanical Turk or universal, human relevant system or, Lee genius or Maura or any of the other companies we looked at there. Was a core group that was doing this work hold, in mind that often, we might think of these as full-time, workers, full-time, employees, and, much. Of the mantra is can't we get everybody into the category, of always-on well. The reality is there's a good 20, percent ish and I'm this. Is clearly not to scale Sid. Might not particularly appreciate this graphic. But. There's a good core group of folks regulars, who, have picked a time or a number of tasks, or a particular kind of set of projects, that, they go to routinely. They. Have a way in which they're turning this, work an income stream into. Something they can count on they're importantly, the deep bench that, is there, so when anybody who's always, on steps, away, those. Folks can step in and no consumer will ever be able to tell the difference one. Way we narrate that now is that people are interchangeable, I think, the other paradigm, we can use is that the capacity, for humans to be able to pick up something, spontaneously. And step, into somebody's else and somebody else's shoes to evaluate, what do I need to do next that's, distinctly. Human we. Don't have a way of modeling, that we don't have priors this.
Is The technically, hard thing that a human is doing within any, process. That's meant to. Capitalize. On humans, in the loop and, then there's this long tail, of experimentalists. Who. Are trying things out they. Might do one project they they literally do one project and say peace out this is awful or they've, figured there's something else they want to try on a different platform. There's. Myriad, reasons people are coming, to this approach, to, picking a project, based work and being paid for it there isn't one kind, of worker here and that's important, but importantly for, this approach to task based work there, isn't a version of this that, can survive where, everybody, is always on or everybody's. Irregular, or everybody's. An experimentalist. We didn't find a version of this where, this worked without. This this. Distribution, without, this profile, and an, argument for why that's true is precisely. Because the. Range of motivations the. Mix of people and circumstances, and contexts. In which people. Are coming, to this work is precisely. What allows them to enter the doors and experimentalist. Test, something out this is the pipeline to becoming, somebody. Who's always on, but. Importantly. Everybody, in this mix they, are organizing, life, around. Work. In other circumstances in, this setting they get to organize, work. Around, their lives if there. Was one thing in common it, was everybody, is searching for the capacity, not for flexibility, and I encouraged and some of you have heard me say this before please, stop using the word flexibility. To, describe this work this. Is a way of managing constraints. On my life I could, choose work where I can step into this work, try. Out projects, and. There are other motivations. I'll mention in a moment but, this organization of, work, around. Projects, is precisely what allows people to be able to make decisions about how to manage other constraints, in their lives that's. That's the part that's the hardest for us when we're designing platforms. To consider we, will never know the circumstances, under which somebody is trying to control particular, constraints. Designing. For that high. Dimensional. Variation. The heterogeneity, here, is the technical challenge, that. Pareto. Distribution. Means. That it's creating, a lot of different mental maps for, what it is that people are doing so, when I asked folks can. You describe what you do to other people. I can hear responses, in the US that, range from I work for a start-up in Silicon Valley or. I'm, self-employed, I'm building my skills or, from, someone in India I'm an entrepreneur I'm, bringing jobs to my village, and they're, all working on the same platform doing, the exact same types, of tasks, so. Importantly. This, range. Of mental models means they don't share a common identity. As workers. We're, of the same kind, of worker and. Anybodies, as a student, who's a student of social movement and social, social action, knows social. Movement, begins, with, having a shared identity a, sense, of a shared common cause that, is fundamentally. The first thing you build when you're doing organizing. Do. We see each other as kindred. And kind or. Sharing. A particular need, until. That's in place it's very difficult. To organize, around, a common cause these. These folks, are doing work they, don't identify as the same type of worker. So. When they connect, and they do connect. And, this. Is certainly speaking, to to. Jacky some of Jackie's earlier work to what Jamie was discussing, this, is one example of, a mod that we built of workers. On Amazon Mechanical Turk connecting. The, coloration, that you see are the, different, sub communities, of Amazon METEC mechanical, work workers who, had built their own discussion, forums, and different. Ways of connecting but, people were also the, number of points. You see our Singleton's, of folks who are those experimentalists. Those, regulars, who, don't necessarily, pipe. Into a specific. Sub forum, or sub community, but, folks are also connecting. Via text, they're, hanging out on skype, working. Together to, get through night shifts, of their own their, own setting, so. People. Do collaborate. What, we found were the folks who are most densely, collabora connected.
And Collaborating. Who had perhaps the greatest potential for forming. Identities, around. Collective. Action and common cause we're. The ones who are always on that. 10% they're. Heavily invested, in what they're doing and they, know that if they connect, they're gonna be able to share costs, they'll, be able to reduce their own costs, of identifying. Bad actors, of, being able to get good recommendations. For how to do the work they're doing of, literally, just having somebody else say good. Job like. Folks were turning to each other for that fundamental. Not technical, need for connecting, a deeply, social need for connecting technology. Will, not fix, or replace, the social, need for connecting. So. How would technology. Be a part of facilitating. That and perhaps, identifying. Places where. Folks have not connected what are the on-ramps, to those connections, that are meaningful to them, that are not the equivalent of the boss building, a break room where they say please. Use my break room it, turns out most folks were creating, their own channels, even when in the circumstances, of the two companies we studied that did build in structured. Engineered, communication. Workers. Of course went and built their own ways. Of connecting, so. How do we facilitate that, recognize, it respect, it and stop, trying to engineer it out. So. The key takeaways, for thinking about the, ways, in which of. The workers, could connect, and how we could facilitate it, as, technologist, is to. Work with the assumption, there is no single worksite I think. One of the greatest, challenges we face today is most of our tooling that we build tends. To work from the starting, point of I've, got a shared work site and we, all have a way of authenticating, each other's, identities. And I trust you from the beginning go, and in. This world it's building with the opposite assumption I don't, know you yet I might not know you for, very long we're about to work on a project go. We're. Literally doing the opposite still because it's easier technically. To. Build say, a communication. System. That assumes, everybody's, on, the same organization. Hypothetically. Teams for. Example just. A critique a product, that Microsoft, recently built. To. Assume there's no sole employer. Of record that, most of the workers orienting, the projects, there's, multiple projects, so. I don't have a single client and it's it's quite dizzying. To imagine, a platform, as the employer, that's. Not obviously. The case. In. Some cases it might be true and we could more easily deal with a question of say an uber is it the employer of record should. Everybody be identified. As the and, classified, as an employee if they work for uber I think. In some ways we'd, be able to see a much more revolutionary, shift if all of us recognize if you're using uber you're you're you're the employer of record, what. Are your responsibilities. To that driver you're. Their client, and we. Haven't moved there yet as consumers. Of these products, that deeply. Benefit. From. The activities, of myriad workers will never see will never mean. Importantly. There's no, unifying. Professional. Identity, or career, yet, so. You could imagine say, something, like content, moderation, which was something we were also looking at within this mix because that's in the portfolio of work that on-demand workers, do that. Content, review and moderation is surfacing. As a profession. What. Does it mean to support, that identity, even. If done, on. A freelancing. Basis, what would it look like for, us to facilitate that, is it certification. What. Are the ways in which there would be for professional, communities. That organize around, that kind of work but, without professional, identity, it is very difficult to organise a labour work, site, condition, you have to have folks who are the point of reference for well what does it mean to treat academics. Professionally. What. Do they usually get, per, salary, for. Office, space without. That point of reference work. Conditions are owed. And. This. Is a global. Network, for a lot of the work we're talking about particularly, if it involves information services. And knowledge work there's quite a bit of localization. Happening. So, the real value isn't. The offshoring, of the work is that I have somebody who has the cultural, and linguistic. Chops. To, be able to help me develop a product or a service that's going to be in their language, in their location. Serving, somebody on the ground in that spot so it's.
Contending, With this is no longer the familiar. And perhaps. Ugly, world of labor arbitrage. Where. It's about how, do I reduce my labor costs by moving it over there it, is recognizing. Their emerging, markets, that, are now paid differentially. For the same type of labour how, are we going to contend with that when, workers themselves, can see when they're being paid less than, another national. Workforce. And, they're. Calling the question on a wire we paid differently. So. The. Thing I would like to leave us with and then move into our, Q&A, is, to think about how we would approach, connecting. Worlds of workers, as a commons. Not. As individuals, who are, invested. In and selfishly possessed, by a single, employer, but. That we're facilitating. A way of tending, this, commons, and. Connecting, a commons, of workers, who. Are oriented. To projects, and tasks, that are, in fundamental. Ways now facilitated. Not, just by algorithm, algorithmic. Management, management but by technical, systems, that. Are. Effectively they are conduits to each other to. Their forms, of income and to their forms of advocacy. So. With that let. Me end there bring us all up if I could and we'll. Bring Louise into the conversation.