Can I pay you in gum? (Notes from the Bezos virtual sweat shop)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 1:15 pm by George Smith

Today’s notes from the Jeff Bezos virtual sweatshop known as Mechanical Turk furnish more odium.

Whenever you think you’ll just bust if things don’t get more amoral and depraved in pursuit of profit in corporate America, there’s Mechanical Turn to cheer you up and reward.

First question: Who actually does jobs that pay $.02, take fifteen minutes to an hour, and are furnished by anonymous employers who threaten you with blacklisting and ejection from the service if you don’t do right?

Yes, it’s true.

At the Bezos virtual sweat shop you can actually be run off for not being an up-to-snuff slave human machine. You can pick up a horribly blemished resume/HIT report card for being deemed insufficient at jobs which pay pennies.

The Bezos virtual sweat shop has also created a sub-contracting industry for third party virtual sweatshopping. The most obvious example is in verbatim audio transcription.

This company wouldn’t exist, it seems, without Mechanical Turk.

On its website, we read:

Unlike other transcription companies which rely purely on human based transcription, we enable our human transcribers to be more effective through the use of our proprietary web-based transcription workflow management system.

Proprietary workflow management system = hundreds of postings for transcribing the audio flatus of corporate America’s infinite meetings on Mechanical Turk.

“Our transcriptionists must go through our online scoring system, which tests their transcription ability, provides feedback, and helps them improve their transcription quality until it is at the highest quality as measured over the course of a variety of jobs,” it continues.

This means the subcontractor uses the Amazon system and site to run you off should you prove to be an inaccurate or otherwise poor intellectual sweat laborer.

Another great category of work, which you should probably stay away from if you’re a sweat-laborer, is article creation.

“Write an article containing x-number of words on [you name it]” they read.

Most of these appear to be ads by a variety of scumbags in the business of uploading Astro-turfed content pushing businesses, services and products on the web.

You can tell they’re scumbags, and that they expect scumbags to work for them by the screechy commands, demands and veiled threats inside the solicitation.

The commands warn the sweat laborer not to “plagiarize” because the content will be checked by “plagiarism checker” which seems to mostly indicate the employers are trying to generate stuff that won’t get downgraded by Google search robots in spam blogs and miscellaneous insta-sites. Rather than prevent people from gaming the job.

Since these things pay almost nothing why would anyone game them wholesale, anyway?

Also in this category, the jobs for virtually nothing in which one writes phony posts and articles for web places trying to gin up the appearance of actual use and enjoyment.

One of the Bezos sweat shop’s core industries appears then to be generation of content for cheap for the poisoning of Google search.

Of course, there are some interesting tasks.

Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with university studies.

Academics have not yet lost all their moral underpinnings in 2011 America and research ethics prevent them from getting involved in fraud, cruelty, sadism and capitalizing wholesale on the desperation of others.

Solicitations to take surveys from university departments, or to take part in quick social cognition and decision-making research experiments, are straightforward and honest. And what small compensation they offer is always on the high end of the MTurk scale.

One such Mturk-mediated survey on political attitudes was aimed at determining the test taker’s beliefs vis-a-vis human rights and fairness in this country. And soliciting attitudes over potential protest and violent rebellion against the government.

Imagine that! Fascinating!

DD even found a rock critic/altie mag editor using the virtual sweat shop to get an interview transcribed!

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