SNAS Seminar: Prof. Paola Tubaro
We are happy to announce the details of the third talk of the Social Network Analysis in Scotland group (SNAS) seminar series 2021-2022.
The third talk of the series is on Tuesday 14th December at 16:00-17:00 UK time. Please see below for more information on the talk, and how to join via Zoom.
Hidden inequalities: using position generators to capture gender gaps on micro-tasking platforms
Presenter: Prof Paola Tubaro (National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France)
Tuesday 14th December at 16:00-17:00 UK time
Around the world, myriad workers perform micro-tasks on online platforms to fuel the digital economy. Short, repetitive and little paid, these tasks include for example labelling objects in images, classifying tweets, recording utterances, and transcribing audio files – notably to satisfy the data appetite of today’s fast-growing artificial intelligence industry. While casualization of labour and low pay have attracted sharp criticisms against these platforms, they are accessible to anyone with basic skills, and may even be particularly favourable to women owing to non-disclosure of workers’ profiles and the possibility to work from home.
Nevertheless, this form of crowd-work fails to fill gender gaps and may even exacerbate them. I demonstrate this result in three steps. First, legacy inequalities in the domestic sphere turn micro-tasking into a ‘third shift’ that adds to already heavy schedules. Second, the human capital of male and female micro-workers differ, with women less likely to have received training in science and technology fields. Third, their social capital differs: using a position generator instrument to capture micro-workers’ access to the knowledge and advice that may come from contacts with different occupations, I show that women have fewer ties to digital-related professionals who could provide them with knowledge and advice to successfully navigate the platform world. Taken together, these factors leave women with fewer career prospects within a tech-driven workforce, and reproduce relegation of women to lower-level computing work as observed in the history of twentieth-century technology.
Prof Paola Tubaro is Research Professor in sociology and technology at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. A specialist of social and organizational networks, she is currently researching the place of human labour in the global production networks of artificial intelligence, and the social conditions of platform work. Her interests also include data methodologies and research ethics.
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