Interviews & Articles:

AMAZON'S TURKER CROWD HAS HAD ENOUGH
Wired
August 23, 2017

Daemo’s origins lie in the difficulty of reforming MTurk from within. In 2014, a group of professors and Turkers started “We Are Dynamo,” a crowd-work “guild” that for the first time united workers in collective action. Its organizers included Stanford’s Michael Bernstein and Niloufar Salehi, UC San Diego’s Lilly Irani (the creator of a popular Turker plugin, Turkopticon), and Kristy Milland, a longtime Turker and the community manager of the TurkerNation forum. Those professors helped Dynamo’s 550-plus members recruit over 100 academic researchers to pledge fair payment and open communication policies. And under Milland’s leadership, workers on Dynamo kicked off the letter-writing campaign that ultimately got Manish Bhatia his paychecks—and earned Turker activists their first taste of media attention. “This was when workers realized we could be part of the conversation about us and the work we do,” says Milland.

How to Make Quick Money Online
nerdwallet
June 19, 2017

Kristy Milland, founder of the TurkerNation.com online community, says inexperienced “Turkers” are at risk of getting swindled because it can be hard to know whom to work for. At worst, a requester may take your work and refuse to pay.

Neue Arbeitswelten
polyphon
June 6, 2017

Kristy Milland - ist langjährige Crowdworkerin und Aktivistin, die sich für die Rechte der neuen digitalen ArbeiterInnen einsetzt. Hier erfährst du mehr über sie und ihre Projekte.

Meet the internet moderators
The Times UK
May 27, 2017

They usually work at home. Many are poorly paid. And their job is to monitor social media – from simply alerting luxury brands to negative posts to uncovering the most extreme and disturbing content. In the week that Facebook’s secret guidelines were leaked, Sally Williams tracks down the individuals who police the internet.

Dark Net: My Mind (video)
Showtime
April 6, 2017

Rapid technological advancements are allowing machines to divine the inner workings of our minds like never before. Now that we have given the machines the keys to our mind, what happens next? In this episode, meet Harmony, the world's first artificially intelligent sex robot; a woman (Kristy) who spends her days and nights uploading her mind to the algorithm; and a family whose lives were torn apart by over a decade of war - only to be saved by virtual reality. Season premiere.

Virtual Sweatshops Paint A Bleak Picture Of The Future Of Work
Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, Vocativ
April 4, 2016

“Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has become a kind of last ditch for many,” said Milland, who spent nearly a decade working full-time on the site and is now an advocate for crowd workers. “It’s creating a kind of digital underclass.”

HR: What We Don’t Know About the Gig Economy Might Hurt Us
Jane Watson, Talent Vanguard
January 27, 2017

What seems to be missing from much of the available data and metrics is the voice of the gig worker. Why do individuals do gig work, and what risks and advantages do they experience? To find out more I spoke with Kristy Milland, a worker, speaker, and activist (in addition to being a Ryerson student currently studying psychology) who runs TurkerNation.com, the oldest online community for Amazon Mechanical Turk crowd workers.

Inside Amazon's clickworker platform: How half a million people are being paid pennies to train AI
Hope Reese and Nick Heath, Tech Republic
December 16, 2016

Sometimes, a group of HITs is posted. "If a batch comes up and it's lunchtime, or I have a doctor's appointment, or my dog needs to go out," said Milland, "I drop everything and do it. I'm literally chained to my computer. If this is how you feed your children, you don't leave."

Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy
Trebor Scholz
December 5, 2016

"Milland reports that she made "double the poverty line" by turking full-time, which was enough to support her family and pay medical bills for two years after her husband lost his job. Milland's resilience, however, entailed 17-hour days to make ends meet."

The humans behind Mechanical Turk’s artificial intelligence
Leslie Hook, Financial Times
October 26, 2016

Even though the rise of artificial intelligence means that the Turkers are the ones coaching the machines, workers still feel subsumed by the system. Ms Milland dreams of one day starting her own platform for tasks, a worker-owned platform that would treat workers better. “If we can’t have a union, we can have a platform, a co-operative crowdsource platform,” she says. “That’s the only way we can hope to make a difference.”

As 9-to-5 Jobs Vanish, Look Who’s Reinventing the Working World
Paul Hampton, Yes Magazine
August 25, 2016

Amazon’s stonewalling prompted many in the Turker community to look for new ideas that go beyond appealing to platform owners to change. As Milland puts it, “We’ve got to look for alternative points of pushing back. This is just the start.” ... Having spent a decade pioneering the future of work, there might not be anyone more curious—or more ready—to create something new than Milland. “What does it look like if we build it today? I don’t know. We’ve got to try it.” Have You Ever Met a Turker? video

There’s a Problem With ‘Crowd Labor’
Michelle Chen, The Nation
July 29, 2016

"If researchers’ scholarly production is based on exploiting MTurk’s hired guns, (Milland) adds, “their use of it blindly just to save time and money is disgusting, both to their discipline and to the workers they’re abusing.”

Facken och aktivister försöker organisera digital arbetskraft
Jon Weman, Arbets Varlden
July 6, 2016

"Kristy Milland realized it was not enough to hone her personal strategies to achieve an acceptable income - she began to engage in various attempts to organize this new, fragmented digital workforce. She has helped to drive the Turker Nation community, the script Turkopticon and Dynamo website, which calls itself "the world's first virtual trade union" and which she also cowrote a paper on when she returned to University."

There is always a BUT with Amazon
UNI Europa
June 28, 2016

"The panel had numerous ideas – Kristy Milland suggested: ‘Build new sustainable, fair platforms! Don’t try to change Amazon but compete with it!’"

On Demand, and Demanding Their Rights
Steven Greenhouse, Prospect.org
June 28, 2016

“Dynamo allows us a place to work together and beat around ideas of what to do,” says Kristy Milland, a longtime Turker in Toronto. “Do we submit crappy data to a company that’s abusive to Turkers to teach it a lesson? Or do we assemble people at Amazon headquarters in Seattle to protest?”

Interview with Kristy Milland
Kati Sipp, Hack the Union
June 13, 2016

I speak about my opinion on the recent "Income security in the on-demand economy: Findings and policy lessons from a survey of crowdworkers" report from the ILO.

Ryerson Psychology Undergraduates Making a Mark in the Community
The Urban Psychologist
Winter 2016

Outside of her studies at Ryerson, Kristy Milland (3rd year BA student) works as a Community Manager of TurkerNation.com and advocate for the rights of digital workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Mature students feel out of place on campus
Kaitlyn Coombes, Ryersonian
March 17, 2016

“It’s difficult to make friends because everyone’s the same age as my daughter. Even to get notes from people they kind of look at me weird,” Milland said.

“We need unions” – crowd worker’s plea to UNI Europa conference
UNI Europa
March 16, 2016

“We need unions – your passion, experience and knowledge.” – This was the message from an Amazon crowd worker to trade unions at the UNI Europa Conference in Rome.

Mature student in studio interview
The Ryersonian
March 16, 2016

An in studio interview with Kristy Milland, a mature student at Ryerson.

Kotiäiti seuloo nettikuvia senttipalkalla, jotta kissavideossasi ei olisi väkivaltaa (Housewife extracts data from web images for cents, in order to not have violent cat videos)
Terhi Hautamäki, Yle
Dec. 28, 2015

Milland has worked all possible jobs, moderating uploaded animal abuse videos, so I do not have to view them. Even if I search for videos of "cats ill-treatment," I just get thoughtful, cautionary examples: videos that batterers have already been convicted or videos of rescued cats. - As seen photos must not be unprecedented. I remember them even after years. Some consider such things day after day. What does it do to their psyche, Milland says.

App comrades unite
Aviva Rutkin, New Scientist
Dec. 12, 2015

It's also where gig-economy workers began organising, via the online forum Turker Nation. Kristy Milland, its community manager, says Mechanical Turk was designed "to isolate workers". Turker Nation offers a virtual water cooler where they can meet each other, share tips and air grievances. Turkers also rely on tools like review network Turkopticon to flag problematic tasks or clients.

What Should We Teach Our Kids? (audio)
BBC Radio 4
Dec. 8, 2015

(Starts at 15:50) "I will now struggle to find work that will pay the bills."

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT | KRISTY MILLAND
Shadi Sibani
Dec. 3, 2015

Kristy Milland, 3rd year Psychology student, recently travelled to Brussels to attend a conference hosted by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies titled The future of digital employment and working conditions in Europe: What does the new internet/data economy means for services and work developments? There, she participated in a roundtable policy debate on U.S. experiences of new forms of labour organisations. Kristy has been a long-time advocate for the rights and needs of works on Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online service that offers low-cost labour for various types of work. Congratulations, Kristy!

Platform Cooperativism conference: Is the Bay Area Gig Economy in a Bubble?
Nithin Coca, Triple Pundit
Nov. 25, 2015

“Platform cooperativism is a way to put power back in the hands of the workers,” Kristy Milland, who does gigs for Amazon Mechanical Turk, said at the conference.

Platform Cooperativism conference: Kristy Milland as part of "Platform Cooperativism: The Internet, Ownership, Democracy" (video)
Platform Cooperativism
Nov 13, 2015

My role in the conversation about cooperative platforms.

Crowds coming
Aurora Hannisdal, Refleks
Oct. 23, 2015

The story as (Canadian) Kristy Milland explains in this edition paints a much different picture than the one of the happy freelancer who can work "when and wherever you will." Flexible, it is not when you are working 17 hours a day when there is work and wait when there is no job to get!
Translation available here.

Interview with Kristy Milland, Community Manager of TurkerNation.com (video)
FEPS
Oct. 20, 2015

Interview with Kristy Milland, Community Manager of TurkerNation.com, Spokesperson for the rights and needs of the workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk in the framework of the Conference: The future of digital employment and working conditions in Europe: What does the new internet/data economy means for services and work developments?

#mTurkGate: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Fee Hike Irks Researchers
Greg Bensinger, Wall Street Journal
June 23, 2015

Kristy Milland, a psychology student at Ryerson University in Toronto, said she’ll likely have to pare her spending on Mechanical Turk after the price changes are implemented. Milland spends about $1,500 per month on Mechanical Turk polling users in an effort to study the demographics and motivations of people who use the service.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: The Tragedy of the Digital Commons
J. Nathan Matias, The Atlantic
June 8, 2015

According to Milland, the company switched to paying Indian workers by direct deposit this spring, a detail Amazon confirmed to me. It wasn't everything they asked for, but it was a start.

SERIE: Nettets byggeklosser ep. 4 – Mekaniske tyrkere (audio)
Radio Frekvens
June 7, 2015

The Web is not just mechanical and digital components. They are difficult to spot, but the Internet's technology is kept in motion by hundreds of thousands of people who do what we would normally think is the machines' work. Join the Mechanical Turk world.

The dark side of on-demand work
Leah Eichler, The Globe & Mail
June 5, 2015

“We are sold as ‘artificial’ artificial intelligence, not live humans with skills and intelligence, and that hurts our chance of ever being respected as a talented, high-quality work force deserving of respect,” she added.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Envoyé spécial du jeudi 4 juin 2015 (video)
FranceTV
June 4, 2015

(54:48)

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Micro-travailleurs de tous les pays, unissez-vous !
Usbek & Rica
June, 2015

Kristy recognizes that freelancers must accept work as new tasks are available online: "We are never in a position to choose (...). For example, I had to agree to moderate child pornography or very violent pictures to be sure of being able to earn enough money." She continues: "Companies turn to us knowing that they are in a position of power and use it to pay less or get us to do morally reprehensible tasks."

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazon: Der digitale Klassenkampf der Unsichtbaren
Frankfurter Rundschau, Von Jonas Rest
May 15, 2015

Kristy Milland from Toronto sent an email to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a few months ago. "I am a human being, not an algorithm," she wrote to the billionaire. "We are living, breathing creatures that have to feed their families." There is a determination that must sound like a radical demand for Bezos. ... Amazon CEO Bezos replied to none of the mails. But Milland says, "I'm sure he's pissed." ... Especially one of the oldest forms of action of the labor movement Milland doesn't rule out: picketing. With it, they could paralyse the Amazon headquarters. The Turker also need not fear the closure of their accounts. Milland says: "The irony would be that Amazon would have no idea who we are." They are not interested in the identity of the Turker.

La trastienda de Mechanical Turk, al descubierto: ellos son los auténticos precarios de internet
Lucía Caballero, hojaderouter.com
May 11, 2015

"Most of the problems would be solved if Amazon presented us as human beings, not artificial intelligence algorithms," says (Milland). This means that the 'Turkers' should be adequately compensated for helping companies and researchers. "Those who pay pennies for an hour of work, ask them if they would do the same if their (child or spouse) were doing this work."

Tech companies are sending your secrets to crowdsourced armies of low-paid workers
Kashmir Hill, Fusion
April 1, 2015

Tabor said that he has never met or talked to any of the 600 outsourced workers who power his service, and doesn’t know how much they get paid. (The going rate is 5 cents per message sent, according to a post on TurkerNation, a Mechanical Turk forum.) “It’s interesting that we have hundreds of potential employees or subcontractors,” Tabor said. “But I don’t think of it that way. I think of it as a partnership with Crowdsource.”

Annals of Ideas - Turking for a Living (video)
New Yorker
March 20, 2015

(3:08-3:18) "There are so many reasons why I can't just go get a job, originally it was medical..."

Bezos Campaign Coverage: WHAT DOES A UNION LOOK LIKE IN THE GIG ECONOMY?
Sarah Kessler, Fast Company
February 19, 2015

"It’s just impossible," says Kristy Milland, an organizer among Mechanical Turk workers, who, like Uber drivers, are independent contractors. "We don’t know how many Turkers there are," she says. "How could we get even a majority of those to vote on movements? We can’t guarantee someone striking, because we can’t even see them. For so many reasons, a union just can’t work."

On-Demand Workers: ‘We Are Not Robots'
Lauren Weber and Rachel Emma Silverman, Wall Street Journal
January 27, 2015

"At the same time that I'm using it to make a living, I'm fighting against it," [Kristy] says. "It's not paying fairly and it's taking advantage of people in a situation where labor laws don't apply."

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Microjobs schaffen moderne Tagelöhner (Micro Jobs create modern day laborers)
SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen
January 12, 2015

"We want to have a voice in the discourse around crowdwork, and so far we haven't been able to. We've been invisible." Kristy Milland.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazons Crowdworker protestieren (Amazon's Crowdworker protest)
Bayern2
December 18, 2014

"Instead of submitting ourselves and our ideas to the capitalist system, we should take over the means of production. Let us create a platform which belongs to the workers themselves." Kristy Milland, Turker and activist

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Работники Mechanical Turk протестуют (Mechanical Turk Workers Protest)
Журнал Хакер (Hacker Journal)
December 8, 2014

Specifically, Mechanical Turk employees do not like that they are treated like slaves, robots. It is quite strange, because Mechanical Turk service was conceived with the expectation for such an environment.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Rhizome Today
Rhizome.org
December 5, 2014

"I am a human being, not an algorithm." — Kristy Milland, Amazon Mechanical Turk worker

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Le prolétariat du web accède à la conscience de classe et lance sa première action collective pour améliorer ses conditions de travail (The online proletariat accesses class consciousness and launches its first collective action to improve working conditions)
Jean-Laurent Cassely, Slate.fr
December 4, 2014

"I am a human being, not an algorithm." writes Kristy Milland, a 35-year-old Canadian student who has completed 830,000 pieces of work on Mechanical Turk in the last 9 years.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazon's Mechanical Turkers want to be recognized as 'actual human beings'
James Vincent, The Verve
December 4, 2014

Milland and her fellow Turkers are relying on Bezos' notoriously accessible email address to get attention.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazon's Mechanical Turk workers protest: 'I am a human being, not an algorithm'
Mark Harris, The Guardian
December 3, 2014

"I hope our letters make Jeff Bezos realise that there are living, breathing human beings who rely on this service he provides to feed and shelter themselves and their families," [Kristy Milland] says...

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazon's Turkers Kick Off the First Crowdsourced Labor Guild
Kevin Zawacki, The Daily Beast
December 3, 2014

"This is a way for some of us to feed our children," Milland told The Daily Beast. "We are not an algorithm."

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazon's Mechanical Turk workers want to be treated like humans
Jon Fingas, Engadget
December 3, 2014

However, those workers are tired of being treated like automatons -- they've launched an email campaign urging Amazon chief Jeff Bezos to market Mechanical Turk staff as the humans they are.

Bezos Campaign Coverage: Amazonサービスの作業者が「私たちはアルゴリズムじゃない」とベゾス氏へのオープンレターを公開 (An open letter of workers of Amazon services written to Bezos said "We are not a algorithm")
Gigazine
December 3, 2014

前出のミランドさんは「私は人間です。アルゴリズムではありません」と書き込んで状況の改善を訴えています。 (Milland's supra "I am human. Not an algorithm" has sued the improvement of the situation by writing with.)

Crowdworkers form their own networks
Michael Pooler, Financial Times
November 3, 2014

"Only when you harness all the tools available can you make a living wage, or [even] a good living," says Kristy Milland...

Crowdwork - zurück in die Zukunft? Perspektiven digitaler Arbeit herausgegeben
Christiane Benner (ed.)
May 2014

">>Sechs Dollar die Stunde sind das absolute Minimum<< ..." (pp. 99-111) English version of the interview

Crowdmilking
T. Scholz
March 9, 2014

On Turker Nation, a forum for Mechanical Turk workers, one person called "spamgirl" writes that "unions are a way for greedy people to take advantage of companies. As a person who rallies against corporations to behave in just that manner, I would never become a part of any other organization's plans to do the same. As a group, Turker Nation can fight its own battles we can choose when to fight back and when not to individually."

Collaboration, Crowdwork, Wearable Computing (audio)
Spark with Nora Young (Podcast)
March 1, 2014

We look at the digital layer, between us and the world around us. The internet is always there, informing the world around us. What was once strictly research or weird art projects, are now practical businesses and lifestyle trends. We present the good, the bad, and the questionable fashion of that digital layer. (I start at 16:15)

How Crowdworkers Became the Ghosts in the Digital Machine
Moshe Z. Marvit, TheNation.com
February 11, 2014

Since 2005, Amazon has helped create one of the most exploited workforces no one has ever seen.

Spamgirl speaks! An interview (part 1 of 3)
Spamgirl speaks! An interview (part 2 of 3)
Spamgirl speaks! An interview (part 3 of 3)
Broken Turk
November 17, 2010

Spamgirl is the dutiful, no-nonsense moderator of ... the Turker forum. She was gracious and uncensored enough to talk about her experience with Mechanical Turk in great detail. Enjoy.

"I make $1.45 a week and I love it"
Katharine Mieszkowski, Salon.com
July 24, 2006

In an eight-hour day, when she didn't have the kids to watch, Milland could go through 1,000 photos, making a cool $30.