Empowering the Ghost Workers Who Power Silicon Valley
This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.
Companies like Amazon, Google and Uber function smoothly thanks to a vast pool of on-demand contractors that make the internet seem smart. These workers perform high-tech piecework such as proofreading, designing engine parts, and flagging X-rated content. An estimated 8 percent of Americans have worked in this “ghost economy"; they usually earn less than legal minimums for traditional work, have no health benefits, and can be fired at any time.
Mary L. Gray and Siddarth Suri explore these issues in their new book, Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass. Please join us for a lunch conversation with Mary Gray to learn more about this invisible human workforce that powers the web, its implications for the future of work, and the changes that would help this new kind of work create opportunity for those who do it.
Faculty Affiliate Fellow, Harvard University
Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research
Associate Director, New America CA