Ghost Work behind the Future of Work

If you are into AI and stuffs, you can hardly dismiss the term “Future of Work”. It’s a concern (some feels it’s rational, some feels it’s irrational) on how automation could sweep away some, if not all, of the low-middle class jobs. This topic itself requires a series of dedicated posts but I just want to highlight a sub-topic related to this because I’m seeing more and more headlines on this – the Ghost Work, in laymen terms, the invisible labor.

Have you ever wondered how much of manual work is required before you have sufficient data to wrangle? Have you ever wondered the amount of labor work is being poured to digitalise data? You need humans to capture images in old albums before you can upload the pictures online, you need humans to label each image (whether this image is a cat or not, for example), you basically need humans to perform lots of labelling, classifying and much more before you can perform the sexy work which involves machine learning, deep learning, data science etc.

Some of the articles highlighting this:

  1. Inmates in Finland are training AI as part of prison labor
  2. A white-collar sweatshop: Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft
  3. The AI gig economy is coming for you 

There’s also a book dedicated to this topic called “Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass”.

Yes, there are jobs that will be replaced by automation. But before we get to the stead state of automation, we need a lot of labor work that are mineal, i.e. does not require a lot of mental thought, if fact probably nil. This type of jobs will still be around, the question is who is willing to do it if we are all emphasizing the sexy work.

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