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Fairwork Podcast

A a podcast about the workers who make up the gig economy

From online freelancing to couriering, domestic work to beauticians, digital platforms are radically changing the frontiers of work. This is a podcast series about the workers who make up the gig economy. Each episode we
Latest Episode12/4/2022

003: The Strange Case of Dr Scale and Mr Remotasks

Season 2, Ep. 3
Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence, one which underpins a huge amount of modern life. If you’re using a computer, smartphone and searching the internet, then you encounter machine learning. It's ubiquitous. And machine learning, doesn’t just emerge out of the minds of technologists – it’s a shared endeavour.It works like this. If you want to develop, say a piece of software that can recognise animals in images for example, you need a whole bunch of existing images of animals. And these need to be captioned, segmented, and annotated to a really detailed level. Your software needs to know what animals look like, so it can tell the difference between a flamingo and a pink cushion. You then use these images – known as training data - to teach your software, so that when it encounters new images, it can tell the animals from the cars.But the key question is, where does this training data come from?In this episode of the Fairwork Podcast, we look at the curious case of Scale and Remotasks, and the relationship between these two platforms. We talk to Juan, a worker on Remotasks, and Dr Kelle Howson, looking at the ways in which digital infrastructures can work to obscure working conditions on labour platforms.Here's a few links for those interested in diving deeper:The Scale website: https://scale.com/The Remotasks website: https://www.remotasks.com/enThe theme in focus for this years Cloudwork report focuses on the relationship between these two platforms and you can read it here: https://fair.work/en/fw/publications/work-in-the-planetary-labour-market-fairwork-cloudwork-ratings-2022/Here's the link to the video me and Kelle discuss in the podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuGBwQ7sQac&t=5s&ab_channel=ScaleAIAs always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions, thoughts or feedback, and you can reach me at robbie.warin@oii.ox.ac.uk
12/4/2022

003: The Strange Case of Dr Scale and Mr Remotasks

Season 2, Ep. 3
Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence, one which underpins a huge amount of modern life. If you’re using a computer, smartphone and searching the internet, then you encounter machine learning. It's ubiquitous. And machine learning, doesn’t just emerge out of the minds of technologists – it’s a shared endeavour.It works like this. If you want to develop, say a piece of software that can recognise animals in images for example, you need a whole bunch of existing images of animals. And these need to be captioned, segmented, and annotated to a really detailed level. Your software needs to know what animals look like, so it can tell the difference between a flamingo and a pink cushion. You then use these images – known as training data - to teach your software, so that when it encounters new images, it can tell the animals from the cars.But the key question is, where does this training data come from?In this episode of the Fairwork Podcast, we look at the curious case of Scale and Remotasks, and the relationship between these two platforms. We talk to Juan, a worker on Remotasks, and Dr Kelle Howson, looking at the ways in which digital infrastructures can work to obscure working conditions on labour platforms.Here's a few links for those interested in diving deeper:The Scale website: https://scale.com/The Remotasks website: https://www.remotasks.com/enThe theme in focus for this years Cloudwork report focuses on the relationship between these two platforms and you can read it here: https://fair.work/en/fw/publications/work-in-the-planetary-labour-market-fairwork-cloudwork-ratings-2022/Here's the link to the video me and Kelle discuss in the podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuGBwQ7sQac&t=5s&ab_channel=ScaleAIAs always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions, thoughts or feedback, and you can reach me at robbie.warin@oii.ox.ac.uk
11/8/2022

Welcome to the Planetary Labour Market

Season 2
The internet is radically reconfiguring the geographies of work, making it possible for workers to connect with employers based anywhere on the planet. Around the world, millions of people are piecing together a living on digital platforms. From labelling data sets to train AI, to content moderation, online sex work to content creation, digital platforms are becoming a major means by which people are accessing paid work, allowing them to pay their rent and send their kids to school. The internet gig economy is radically changing the frontiers of work, where it takes place, who does it and what we consider it to be.   Welcome to the Planetary Labour Market,   This is a podcast series about the workers making a living in the online gig economy, a selection of stories from those on the frontlines. We speak to workers and researchers from around the work, completing work in all four corners of the globe. We’ll hear stories of workers who are navigating precarity and the constant threat of deactivation. Those who are thriving against the odds, and those organising for a better world. We dive into what it’s like working in the gig economy, what it’s like being managed by algorithms, rated on every job and monitored every step of the way. We ask the big questions, looking at the political and the personal – exploring the radical changes to our world of work through the eyes of those at its centre. New episodes every Monday starting the 14th of November.
10/19/2021

010: Kids These Days...

Season 1, Ep. 10
It hardly needs stating, but the world faces some grave challenges in the 21st century. From the dismantlement of workplace security replaced by an increasingly precarious model of work, to the threats to our biosphere posed by climate change and biodiversity loss. In the face of the enormity of these challenges we often feel lost, a tiny individual unable to stand up against the whims of global capital. Amidst this, we have seen the huge reduction in the power of trade unions since the 1980s as their power has been systematically undermined by governments around the world. But what role is there for Unions within the 21st century and what does their future hold?On this week's episode of the Fairwork podcast we welcome Eve Livingston. Eve is a writer based in Glasgow, whose book ‘Make Bosses Pay: Why We Need Unions’ was released by Pluto Press in Autumn 2021.Our conversation looks at contemporary trade unionism, it looks at what is holding unions back, as well as what they could achieve. It looks are the power and opportunity within collective organising to solve a range of the social, political, economic and environmental issues faced by our global community; but it also looks at where we’re going wrong and what we can do about it.You can find out more about Eve's book here: https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745341620/make-bosses-pay/You can contact Robbie Warin at robbie.warin@oii.ox.ac.ukYou can find out more about Fairwork: https://fair.work/en/fw/homepage/