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Histories of Artificial Intelligence: A Genealogy of Power


Assistant Professor in Communication at the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos University), Brazil. He holds a PhD in Communication from the University of São Paulo. Coordinator of DigiLabour Research Lab, and the editor of DigiLabour newsletter. Principal Investigator for the Fairwork project in Brazil. His research interests include digital labour, work & AI, platform cooperativism, datafication, workers' organisation, communication and work. See Rafael's recently published Contextualizing Platform Labor with Jack Qiu, this article in TripleC, and a full list of Rafael's publications.

Research overview:
The hidden labour of Brazilian women on AI platforms

The aim of this research is to analyse the labour of Brazilian women on AI platforms, considering intersections between gender, Global South and class composition perspectives. There are inequalities involving local workers and so-called global platforms. There is no 'digital labour universalism' or a homogeneous and unique notion of global workforce. There are, in fact, diverse work and AI scenarios around the world, including Brazilian AI platforms. The hidden labour in these AI platforms accelerate the platformisation of labour from the process of 'taskification of labour' and the data production for automation. Furthermore, platformisation, or, heteromation of labour has gender perspectives, from the materialities and infrastructures of the platforms to the working conditions. In a Global South perspective, informal work is not an exception, but historically the way of life of most workers, an ordinary state. The change is that informal work – also with gender issues involved – are now platformised. There are connections among human labour, data and planetary resources, considering data as a form of capital for AI companies, expropriating and colonising workers' resources. Is it possible to say that there is an AI colonialism involving hidden labour for AI platforms? Most research on labour and AI focuses on the Global North, highlighting countries such as the United States and France, with a centrality of Amazon Mechanical Turk. The Latin American scenario is less well known in academic research on labour and AI in the Global South in relation to countries like the Philippines and India. In Brazil, existing research to date focuses only on Amazon Mechanical Turk and has no gender perspectives. These researchers argue that the majority of workers are men. Nevertheless, what about women? What is it like to be a Brazilian woman – and thus, from the Global South – working for AI platforms? How are their working conditions? What are the AI imaginaries involved in their relationship with work? How gender and territory issues affect their working experiences?

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