Immaterial Digital Labor

This group is meant to be a site of causal debate, link sharing,... and hopefully some organic organizing on the topic of digital labor, automation, machine learning, and emergent definitions of labor.

Developments in computation, big data, and data circulation have made it necessary to readdress the labors we put into the internet. Some have called ours an economy of ‘hyperemployment,’ where using social media is not a choice but a necessity in the professional world, yet we are rarely paid for this off-the-clock labor. Others have focused on assembling definitions for digital labor practices like 'hope labor' (Kathleen Kuehn). Others have sought to discuss the embedded and structural inequalities of the internet due to decisions made early in its development and/or legal structures which have allowed a digital elite to use controls embodied within the protocols of networks.

One theme I hope this group takes up is the possibility of unionizing or at least creating some sort of weird solidarity (Karen Gregory) demanding payment for social media companies’ mass data gathering projects, which surveil us and then sell the data to other groups like the NSA. And let's not rule out the proposition for a universal basic income, as some say this may be our only viable solution.

I also hope we can talk about the ways in which crowdsourcing and "open" projects like Wikipedia might be exploiting our immaterial labors because its not just major corporations exploiting our digital labor anymore, its integrated into all systems.

Post archive website (in development)
Links also at:
Digital Labor Wiki:
Note: If you want to help archiving the group and / or this subject, get in touch!



In order to continue the dialogue of this group, I’d like to instate the following rules.

Ground rules:

* Include a 1+ sentence note with the link - this could be the link’s bibliographic citation, a short summary of it, or a comment that relates it to the group’s theme

*Don’t post more than 2 links in a row unless you have a really good reason to

* If anyone has opposition with these rules or wants to discuss, let me know.