Heteromation, and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism

Heteromation, and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism
Tags: Hamid R. Ekbia

The computerization of the economy – and everyday life – has transformed the division of labor between humans and machines, shifting many people into work that is hidden, poorly compensated, or accepted as part of being a "user" of digital technology. Through our clicks and swipes, logins and profiles, emails and posts, we are, more or less willingly, participating in digital activities that yield economic value to others but little or no return to us. Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi call this kind of participation – the extraction of economic value from low-cost or free labor in computer-mediated networks – "heteromation." In this book, they explore the social and technological processes through which economic value is extracted from digitally mediated work, the nature of the value created, and what prompts people to participate in the process.