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Accepted Paper:

Friction in data labour – prisoners training artificial intelligence  
Minna Ruckenstein

Paper short abstract:

In this talk, I use the notion of friction (Tsing 2005) to examine human data labour that keeps AI-based automation running. I will discuss an unconventional case of data labour: Finnish prisoners producing training data for a local artificial intelligence company.

Paper long abstract:

The Finnish data labour case highlights how the notion of friction aids in uncovering contradictory value aims and opening novel ways of exploring processes of automation. At first glance, prison data labour is ‘ghost work’ – now a recognized form of low paid click work. In light of friction, however, we are dealing with the local and situational variations of data labour: how high-tech development can be married with humane penal policies and rehabilitative aspirations.

The prison data labour case draws our attention to human involvements and imaginaries that are crucial in promoting automated futures. By doing so, the case demonstrates anticipations, collaborations and eventual disconnects, making it plain that the humans, with their guiding values, are the most critical component in human-machine arrangements.

Panel P17b
Addressing the Humans behind AI and Robotics
  Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -