The Digital Factoryreveals the hidden human labor that supports today’s digital capitalism.
The workers of today’s digital factory include those in Amazon warehouses, delivery drivers, Chinese gaming workers, Filipino content moderators, and rural American search engine optimizers. Repetitive yet stressful, boring yet often emotionally demanding, these jobs require little formal qualification, but can demand a large degree of skills and knowledge. This work is often hidden behind the supposed magic of algorithms and thought to be automated, but it is in fact highly dependent on human labor.
The workers of today’s digital factory are not as far removed from a typical auto assembly line as we might think. Moritz Altenried takes us inside today’s digital factories, showing that they take very different forms, including gig economy platforms, video games, and Amazon warehouses. As Altenried shows, these digital factories often share surprising similarities with factories from the industrial age. As globalized capitalism and digital technology continue to transform labor around the world, Altenried offers a timely and poignant exploration of how these changes are restructuring the social division of labor and its geographies as well as the stratifications and lines of struggle.