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Turkopticon: Interrupting Worker Invisibility in Amazon Mechanical Turk

  • Author(s): Irani, LC
  • Silberman, MS
  • et al.
Abstract

As HCI researchers have explored the possibilities of human computation, they have paid less attention to ethics and values of crowdwork. This paper offers an analysis of Amazon Mechanical Turk, a popular human computation system, as a site of technically mediated worker-employer relations. We argue that human computation currently relies on worker invisibility. We then present Turkopticon, an activist system that allows workers to publicize and evaluate their relationships with employers. As a common infrastructure, Turkopticon also enables workers to engage one another in mutual aid. We conclude by discussing the potentials and challenges of sustaining activist technologies that intervene in large, existing socio-technical systems.

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