Lilly Irani, UC San Diego;
M. Six Silberman, IG Metall
Niloufar Salehi, Stanford University
Michael Bernstein, Stanford University

Denver 2015: Design and Planning

Over the last decade, the internet industries have reorganized a wide span of information and service work. This reorganization extends beyond the industry’s own production processes as they reconfigure service industries through freelancer platforms Uber, ODesk, and Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). From 2008 to the present, our collective has collaborated with workers in one of these systems – AMT – to understand the vulnerabilities and agencies mediated by these systems, the discourses that legitimate them, and how these systems could be designed otherwise. To that end, we have designed two systems that enable AMT workers to engage in collective action online. Our work with these systems raises questions about the labor, maintenance, repair, and politics of making and doing.