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Micro-work, artificial intelligence and the automotive industry

Author

Listed:
  • Paola Tubaro

    () (CNRS)

  • Antonio A. Casilli

    (Département SES, Telecom ParisTech)

Abstract

This paper delves into the human factors in the “back-office” of artificial intelligence and of its data-intensive algorithmic underpinnings. We show that the production of AI is a labor-intensive process, which particularly needs the little-qualified, inconspicuous and low-paid contribution of “micro-workers” who annotate, tag, label, correct and sort the data that help to train and test smart solutions. We illustrate these ideas in the high-profile case of the automotive industry, one of the largest clients of digital data-related micro-working services, notably for the development of autonomous and connected cars. This case demonstrates how micro-work has a place in long supply chains, where tech companies compete with more traditional industry players. Our analysis indicates that the need for micro-work is not a transitory, but a structural one, bound to accompany the further development of the sector; and that its provision involves workers in different geographical and linguistic areas, requiring the joint study of multiple platforms operating at both global and local levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Tubaro & Antonio A. Casilli, 2019. "Micro-work, artificial intelligence and the automotive industry," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 333-345, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:epolin:v:46:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s40812-019-00121-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s40812-019-00121-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clément Le Ludec & Paola Tubaro & Antonio Casilli, 2019. "How many people microwork in France? Estimating the size of a new labor force," Working Papers hal-02012731, HAL.
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    4. David H. Autor, 2015. "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    5. Ohnemus, Jörg & Erdsiek, Daniel & Viete, Steffen, 2016. "Nutzung von Crowdworking durch Unternehmen: Ergebnisse einer ZEW Unternehmensbefragung," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, number 148354.
    6. Schmidt, Florian A., 2019. "Crowdproduktion von Trainingsdaten: Zur Rolle von Online-Arbeit beim Trainieren autonomer Fahrzeuge," Study / edition der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf, volume 127, number 417.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paola Tubaro & Clément Le Ludec & Antonio Casilli, 2020. "Counting ‘micro-workers’: societal and methodological challenges around new forms of labour," Post-Print hal-02898905, HAL.
    2. Lucrezia Fanti & Dario Guarascio & Massimo Moggi, 2020. "The development of AI and its impact on business models, organization and work," LEM Papers Series 2020/25, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Valeria Cirillo & Matteo Rinaldini & Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "Trade unions' responses to Industry 4.0 amid corporatism and resistance," LEM Papers Series 2020/21, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Artificial intelligence; Micro-work; Automotive industry; Digital platform economy; Organization of work;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D26 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Crowd-Based Firms
    • J49 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Other
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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