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May 13, 2019

Newsletter - May 2019 - Digital labour, a growing phenomenon

May 13, 2019

Digital labour, a growing phenomenon

Newsletter May 2019

The digital plowing, a concept that emerged in the early 2000 years, corresponds to a new form of Internet users ' work. It makes both reference to remunerated micro-tasks to accompany the development of algorithms or artificial intelligence, but also to the work of the shadow generated by the activity of the users and used by the platforms to create value. The demand is strong and raises the question, in an increasingly insistent way, of the potential exploitation of this invisible workforce and every day more numerous. lighting.

Last February, a group of researchers published a study to identify the French micro-workers, these little unknown hands of the digital. It identifies:

  • 14 903 active workers (at least once a week),
  • 52 337 regular (at least once a month),
  • and 266 126 occasional.

"These estimates are to be interpreted as orders of magnitude. To the extent that they exceed the number of contributors to platforms more publicized such as uber or Deliveroo, "emphasizes Clement the Ludec, Paola Tubaro and Antonio Casilli, the authors of the study.

Indispensable micro-tasks

Often repetitive and unskilled, these tasks "consist, for example, of identifying or naming objects on images, transcribing invoices, translating pieces of text, moderating content (such as videos), sorting or classifying photographs , responding to online surveys, "the researchers explain. However, as Antonio Casilli demonstrated in his book Waiting for robots: survey on the work of the click, published in the editions of the Seuil in January, technologies like artificial intelligence are very greedy of these micro-works, paid for most only pennies per click. All without any protection and in the most complete legal blur.


Behind the dematerialised illusion, the digital plowing hides. "This new form of population development pushes the logics of insecurity and exclusion already found in the context of the vast public debate and legal disputes around the status of" uberized "workers to the extreme. We therefore find it urgent to look at this emerging phenomenon, concludes the authors of the study. In a study published in September 2018, the International Labour Organization (ILO) also calls for the regulation and better supervision of the sector, which is expected to count 213 million workers at the end of 2019.

Key figures

  • 25% more applications per year to use micro-worker services
  • In 2016, digital labour accounted for a market of 4.8 billion million
  • 2/3 the tasks performed are paid less than 10 cents of the dollar.

Therefore, how do these indispensable micro-tasks be a vector of development and emancipation for micro-workers?

The answer isahit

Isahit is the first outsourcing platform for Digital tasks socially responsible. Conscious of the issues raised above, we put our technological expertise in the service of a form of digital plowing just and profitable to everyone. To do this, we mobilize a very specific population: educated women (who have validated at least their bachelor's degree) living in developing countries, mainly in Africa. Our hiers, who have had to stop their studies for lack of money or who have difficulty pursuing them, who seek to create their business or want to improve their experience to access the labour market can thus generate a complementary income and take their destiny in hand. According to the countries, our "hiyers" perceive 2 to 4 times the local minimum wage.

Our goal: to promote the development and empowerment of these women at the time of digital. Indeed, thanks to our platform and the community created around it, our hiyers have the opportunity to professionalise themselves while developing their knowledge, skills and relational networks, thus leading them to flourish and to to develop. Isahit is not an end but a springboard.

"Isahit is taking its full part in the Tech for Good revolution by acting more specifically on the United Nations' objectives 1 (no powerty) and 8 (decent work). A commitment by evidence, re-evaluated each year via Kimso's SROI method for impact measurement. Our next report will be released in October 2019." Isabelle Mashola , CEO and co-founder of isahit.

The social impact by the evidence

To measure the impact of our approach, we have appealed to the KIMSO, which conducted a one-year study, between July 2017 and July 2018. You can find the main lessons in this Computer graphics.

Key figures – isahit

  • 5% of our income goes to our program Isahit help that accompanies women in their access to digital: provision of support through premises and representatives partners equipped with computer, Internet access, opening of a bank account, workplace, digital training, help with reporting as an independent worker...
  • isahit is present in 17 African countries. Our activity has allowed up to today to train and accompany more than 850 people carrying out projects in their quest for independence and autonomy, through their part-time work on our platform of digital micro-tasks.

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