Fairwork researchers publishing new book on hidden human labour powering AI

Posted on 03.07.2024
feeding the machine book launch

Join the launches of the latest book from Fairwork researchers, James Muldoon, Mark Graham, and Callum Cant!

Their new book, Feeding the Machine tells the story of artificial intelligence (AI) through the eyes of the underpaid and exploited workers who power it.

The authors will be hosting two launch events, one online on July 18 at 16:00 BST and the second in person, at Pelican House in London on July 23 at 18:00. Follow the links below to register your attendance:

Silicon Valley has sold us the illusion that artificial intelligence is a frictionless technology that will bring wealth and prosperity to humanity. But hidden beneath this smooth surface lies the grim reality of a precarious global workforce of millions labouring under often appalling conditions to make AI possible. This book presents an urgent, riveting investigation of the intricate network that maintains this exploitative system, revealing the untold truth of AI.

Based on hundreds of interviews and thousands of hours of fieldwork over more than a decade, Feeding the Machine describes the lives of the workers deliberately concealed from view and the power structures that determine their future. It gives voice to the people who AI exploits, from accomplished writers and artists to the armies of data annotators, content moderators, and warehouse workers, revealing how their dangerous, low-paid labor is connected to longer histories of gendered, racialized, and colonial exploitation.

AI is an extraction machine that feeds off humanity’s collective effort and intelligence, churning through ever-larger datasets to power its algorithms. This book is a call to arms that details what we need to do to fight for a more just digital future.

Want to know more? Read an excerpt from the book or check out this interview with the authors.