Browse Definitions :
Definition

ghost worker

Contributor(s): Kevin Ferguson

1. A ghost worker is someone who is on a company's payroll but does not do any actual work. In some cases, a ghost worker is a real person who has died or otherwise left the company, but their personal data remains in the books. In other cases, the worker is entirely fictitious and their addition to the company's payroll constitutes fraud. 

2. Ghost worker is an emerging class of remote freelance workers who make their living by completing microtasks for cloud providers. Many ghost workers end up earning less than their country's minimum hourly wage because they are only paid for the tasks they complete, regardless of long they work. Also, because they work on a freelance basis, ghost workers do not receive employee benefits. 

The use of ghost worker (sometimes spelled ghostworker) in an outsourcing context was coined by Siddharth Suri and Mary L. Gray in their 2019 book, Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building a New Global Underclass. In their book, Gray and Suri explore the social impact of crowdsourcing the manual work required to support artificial intelligence (AI) programming.

The authors conducted hundreds of in-person interviews and more than 10,000 surveys of microtask workers in the United States and India. They found that such work often involves tasks like captioning a series of photos or transcribing 60 seconds of an audio file. They also examined four major on-demand platform businesses, studied their policy landscape, and performed dozens of experiments to understand API-driven office work and how it shapes the lives and productivity of on-demand workers. Some of the ghost workers interviewed by the researchers were employed through the likes of Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Similar platforms are operated by OneSpace's CrowdSource, Upwork and Fiverr.

This was last updated in June 2019

Continue Reading About ghost worker

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

  • RAID 6 (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID 6, also known as double-parity RAID, uses two parity stripes on each disk. It allows for two disk failures within the RAID ...

  • hard disk drive (HDD)

    A computer hard disk drive (HDD) is a non-volatile memory hardware device that controls the positioning, reading and writing of ...

  • byte

    In most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. Bytes are often used to represent a ...

Close