Cyber Work: The Future of Networked Labor
Technology has transformed from a tool that supports work into a comprehensive infrastructure that connects workers to employers. Platforms such as Uber and Amazon Mechanical Turk, which announce themselves as the “gig economy” and “paid crowdsourcing”, signal a shift where workers and employers connect ad-hoc, at large scale, to accomplish complex tasks. This shift to online networked labor has the potential to dramatically reconfigure how we shape our careers, organizations, and market platforms, and in turn shifts how those careers, organizations and platforms shape our society. Inspired by this transformation and its risks, our project addresses challenges facing the entire span of the networked labor ecosystem: individuals, organizations, and the work platform itself. We study three fundamental questions: first, how will people manage their work lives online? Second, how might organizations look in a future of networked labor? Third, how do networked labor platforms succeed? To address these challenges, we propose a combination of social scientific, design and engineering endeavors. Our efforts aim to envision the future of digital work, and to inform and create the technological platforms that enable it.
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