Interrupting invisibilities and bridging worlds: An essay on the work of turkopticon

Amazon Mechanical Turk works by keeping worlds apart. Mechanical Turk is a web-based labor market that draws workers scattered all over the world to perform small bits of digital labor for a few dollars an hour. Amazon’s engineers and managers designed the system to make up for the failure of artificial intelligence to automate fully their data-processing tasks. Failing to replace low-status workers with machines, Amazon simulated machines with hidden, globally distributed, contingent low-status workers.Turkopticon creates a short circuit between these worlds. Workers call their employers to account and engage in mutual aid. Turkopticon offers a forum and format for workers to review employers and to see others’ reviews while browsing Mechanical Turk for work.

Irani, L. and Silberman, S. (2013), 'Interrupting invisibilities and bridging worlds: An essay on the work on Turkopticon,' Essay, Pacific Northwest College of Art.


  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • professional services
  • Online moderately skilled click work
  • United States
  • 2013
  • Other
  • representation, industrial relations, social dialogue
  • English
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art (Research institute)
  • Open access
Disclaimer  —  Eurofound aims to keep the information in this database up to date and accurate. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. However, Eurofound bears no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy or content of this database or of external links over which Eurofound services have no control and for which Eurofound assumes no responsibility.