Letters commissioned on Amazon MTurk
Dear Jeff is a compilation of letters to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gathered through the company’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) online marketplace. On MTurk, workers complete crowdsourced Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) that, owing to their complexity, cannot be performed by computers. Compensation ranges from one cent to several dollars per task, with the average worker earning $1-5 dollars per hour. In Dear Jeff, Workers were paid $1 dollar in exchange for describing their work experiences on the platform. Responses varied from calls for increased wages and improved working conditions, to expressions of gratitude for Bezos and of pride in the work itself. As viewers scroll endlessly through the letters—anonymized and visually homogenized in the color and type of Amazon’s brand identity—Dear Jeff reveals tensions that characterize work in the gig economy: between flexibility and precarity, variety and irregularity, autonomy and exploitation.
Compilation of Letters
PDF of full text