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The trainer, the verifier, the imitator: Three ways in which human platform workers support artificial intelligence

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  • Paola Tubaro

    () (CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, TAU - TAckling the Underspecified - Inria Saclay - Ile de France - Inria - Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique - LRI - Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique - CentraleSupélec - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LRI - Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique - CentraleSupélec - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IDHES - Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Économie et de la Société - ENS Paris Saclay - Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay - UEVE - Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Antonio Casilli

    () (SID - Sociologie Information-Communication Design - I3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217) - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique - Télécom ParisTech - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, SES - Département Sciences Economiques et Sociales - Télécom ParisTech, IP Paris - Institut Polytechnique de Paris)

  • Marion Coville

    () (IAE Poitiers - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Poitiers - Université de Poitiers, CEREGE - CEntre de REcherche en GEstion - EA 1722 - Université de Poitiers - ULR - Université de La Rochelle - IAE Poitiers - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Poitiers - Université de Poitiers)

Abstract

This paper sheds light on the role of digital platform labour in the development of today's artificial intelligence, predicated on data-intensive machine learning algorithms. Focus is on the specific ways in which outsourcing of data tasks to myriad 'micro-workers', recruited and managed through specialized platforms, powers virtual assistants, self-driving vehicles and connected objects. Using qualitative data from multiple sources, we show that micro-work performs a variety of functions, between three poles that we label, respectively, 'artificial intelligence preparation', 'artificial intelligence verification' and 'artificial intelligence impersonation'. Because of the wide scope of application of micro-work, it is a structural component of contemporary artificial intelligence production processes - not an ephemeral form of support that may vanish once the technology reaches maturity stage. Through the lens of micro-work, we prefigure the policy implications of a future in which data technologies do not replace human workforce but imply its marginalization and precariousness.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Tubaro & Antonio Casilli & Marion Coville, 2020. "The trainer, the verifier, the imitator: Three ways in which human platform workers support artificial intelligence," Post-Print hal-02554196, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02554196
    DOI: 10.1177/2053951720919776
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02554196
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Digital platform labour; micro-work; datafied production processes; artificial intelligence; machine learning;
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