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Platforms from the Inside-Out

Maria Concetta Ambra ()
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Maria Concetta Ambra: Department of Social Sciences and Economics, Sapienza University of Rome

No 19/20, Working Papers from Sapienza University of Rome, DISS

Abstract: This article focuses on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), the crowdsourcing platform created by Amazon, with the aim to enrich our knowledge of this specific platform and to contribute to the debate on ‘platform economy’. In light of the massive changes triggered by the new digital revolution, many scholars have recently examined how platform work has changed, by exploring transformations in employee status and the new content of platform work. This article addresses two interrelated questions: to what extent and in what ways does AMT chal-lenge the boundaries between paid and unpaid digital labour? How does AMT exploit online labour to extract surplus value? The research was undertaken from December 2018 and July 2019, through the collection of 50 doc-uments originating from three Amazon web sites. These documents have been examined though the technique of content analysis by adopting the NVivo software. In conclusion, it explains how Amazon has been able to develop a hybrid system of human-machine work. This specific model can be also fruitful used to speed up the machine learning process and to make it more accurate.

Keywords: Amazon Mechanical Turk; Crowdsourcing Platform; Digital Piecework; Intellectual Property Rights; Machine Learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D20 D26 J30 J83 O30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big, nep-cmp and nep-pay
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