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Introducing People with ASD to Crowd Work

Kotaro Hara, Singapore Management University
12-1pm  25th Oct 2018


Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are unemployed at a high rate, in part because the constraints and expectations of traditional employment can be difficult for them. Some aspects of crowd work, such as bypassing the social norms of a contemporary workplace, may be beneficial for people with ASD, enabling them to generate income through remote work. In this talk, I will first discuss our work in introducing people with ASD to remote work on a crowdsourcing platform-Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). We conducted a six-week long user-centered design study with three participants with ASD, assessing the abilities of our participants to search and work on micro-tasks available on AMT. Our findings suggest that people with ASD have varying levels of ability to work on micro-tasks, but are likely to be able to work on tasks like image transcription. In the latter part of the talk, I will discuss if crowd work could generate income sufficient to support workers. We recorded 2,676 workers performing 3.8 million tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our task-level analysis revealed that workers earned a median hourly wage of only ~$2/h, and only 4% earned more than $7.25/h (US federal minimum wage), suggesting the need of improvements in the design of the platform to create a more positive future for crowd work, particularly for those with ASD.

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