Meet the Crowd: Political Economies and Cultural Meanings of Digital Labor

Date

July 29, 2014

Overview

This presentation draws together experts in the field to discuss the technical and social challenges posed by crowdsourcing’s global workflows. While crowdwork is often presumed to be driven by anonymous, autonomous actors, this panel draws on a diverse set of research approaches to flesh out a more socially robust vision of this vital part of the information economy. We examine crowdsourcing’s systems of exchange and collaboration as well as the range of networks and incentives that organize crowdwork. Each panelist offers a perspective from current findings, from computational and qualitative approaches, to ask: who are crowdworkers and how might seeing who they are help us build more responsive, expansive, and ethical platforms?

Speakers

Rajesh Patel, Matthew Lease, Winter Mason, and Siddharth Suri

Rajesh Patel is a senior program manager at Microsoft with Bing.com. He owns the direction, strategy, and execution of the crowdsourcing platform at Bing. Building software to solve business problems and enabling many users’ scenarios via a platform is his passion and expertise. He has been engaged in understanding crowdsourcing trends and their impact on business. In the Bing Core Relevance group, Patel has delivered Microsoft’s first crowdsourcing platform to enable flexible human annotations for Bing to improve the relevance of search results and relevance measurement. The usage of crowdsourcing on this platform is increasing across Microsoft. Patel is engaged in crowdsourcing research areas and participates in crowdsourcing presentations and panel discussions.

Rajesh Patel is a senior program manager at Microsoft with Bing.com. He owns the direction, strategy, and execution of the crowdsourcing platform at Bing. Building software to solve business problems and enabling many users’ scenarios via a platform is his passion and expertise. He has been engaged in understanding crowdsourcing trends and their impact on business. In the Bing Core Relevance group, Patel has delivered Microsoft’s first crowdsourcing platform to enable flexible human annotations for Bing to improve the relevance of search results and relevance measurement. The usage of crowdsourcing on this platform is increasing across Microsoft. Patel is engaged in crowdsourcing research areas and participates in crowdsourcing presentations and panel discussions.

Winter Mason received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Cognitive Science from Indiana University in 2007. From 2007-2011 he worked as a Visiting Scientist at Yahoo! Research in the Human and Social Dynamics group, and is currently an assistant professor in the Howe School of Technology Management at Stevens Institute of Technology., and collective intelligence.

Siddharth “Sid” Suri works at the intersection of computer science and behavioral economics. His work analyzes the relationship between social network topology and behavior using a variety of techniques including behavioral experiments, massive data analysis and theoretical modeling. Moreover, Sid has become one of the leaders in designing, building, and conducting “virtual lab” experiments using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. His work has appeared in Science, PNAS, as well as top computer science venues. He won the Best Paper award and a Top 10% Paper award in ACM EC 2012.

Sid earned his Ph.D. in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 under the supervision of Michael Kearns. After that, he was a postdoctoral associate working with Jon Kleinberg in the computer science department at Cornell University. Then he moved to the Human & Social Dynamics group at Yahoo! Research led by Duncan Watts. Currently, Sid is one of the founding members of Microsoft Research, New York City.

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