When we think about what goes into large digital or virtually-oriented tasks, we sometimes tend to overlook the “little” aspects of the study, those micro-moments that are highly necessary to create a cohesive project or job. This is where microworkers come into play. What are microworkers? They are the individuals who help provide data for machine learning algorithms. This, in turn, fuels the AI-driven technology needed for numerous digital tasks and protocols. So, for example, let’s say you are looking for a movie recommendation for the weekend. Microworkers will likely have something to do with the results that you get back upon searching for that perfect movie to go and watch. If you want to try a new restaurant and aren’t sure which venue to visit, microworker input could have an impact on your evening’s meal.
Among the more common tasks associated with a microworker’s job are tagging content so that algorithms can learn faster, marking relevant features on “maps,” and weeding out duplicate pages on specific platforms. And this scratches the surface. Estimates suggest that they are currently tens of thousands of microworkers out there diligently inputting data, thus helping bolster current technological and digital possibilities. Amazon alone employs a massive number of microworkers at any given time and is thought to be one of the largest employers of this segment of workers.
What Does a Microworker Look Like?
You may just be surprised at what a typical microworker looks like. For example, many microworkers are highly educated, with a larger than an average number of them having a post-graduate degree of some form. More men than women tend to be microworkers. And microworkers come from around the globe—from Pakistan to the US to Brazil and everywhere in between.
The concept of microwork has come under attack in the past and more recently. This is due in large part to what an average microworker earns. Depending on the country of origin and the task at hand, a typical microworker will earn approximately $10 a day—and that is on the higher side. This is not enough to live on. And this is why microwork is usually a side gig for those who undertake such tasks.
In some countries, there is very little support for microworkers and thus, very little by way of protection. Also, depending on the region in which the microworkers are located, many are thought to be considered “invisible.” And yet, microwork is essential to the further development of AI technologies. Some might argue that AI, as it stands today (and potentially in the future), could not exist if not for the collective efforts of microworkers around the globe.
How Does a Microworker Find Work?
More and more platforms are specializing in microwork jobs. Various freelance platforms and even one entirely dedicated to microworkers seem to be popping up daily. This represents a massive boon to the microworking industry. As remote work gains more of a stronghold, microwork, inevitably, will too. In other words, it is not going away anytime soon. As more people rely on microworkers and more technology becomes dependent on their input, microworkers stand to gain increasing recognition. They may eventually become eligible for certain protections in employment and labor laws. And hopefully, the amount that microworkers get paid will start to grow.
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