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The Workers' Algorithm
Observatory

Worker-led audits in the platform economy

Contact Us
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WAO helps workers and allies investigate black-box algorithmic systems

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We're crowdsourcing the data necessary for meaningful, scientific audits

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Our group is building tools and support for workers and allies

Tools

We're building tools to investigate black-box algorithmic systems

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FairFare

FairFare helps drivers, organizers, and policy-makers understand the ride hail industry by crowdsourcing fare data from drivers. This study helps answer key questions, such as how much of a fare goes to the app and how much goes to the driver. Drivers securely and anonymously link their job data to analyze average fare breakdowns and how they change. Our pilot runs during the summer and fall of 2023, part of a collaboration between MIT and Princeton and funded by the Mozilla Foundation. Learn more at a Mozilla blog post and the getfairfare.org website.

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The Shipt calculator

The Shipt Calculator was a worker-led study of a black box algorithm used by the delivery company Shipt. Willy Solis, a member of the Gig Workers Collective who led the study, collaborated with Coworker.org and our team to crowdsource and analyze data shared by over one hundred workers using a custom texting bot. We found that wages decreased for a majority but increased for a minority, suggesting that the algorithm determines more than just pay – it affects worker agency and well-being, too. Learn more about this in a blog post and 11-minute film produced in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and the FAccT conference.

About

The WAO is a crowdsourced auditing collaboration. 

Investigating black-box platform algorithms, such as those used by Uber and DoorDash, faces major challenges in accessing the data necessary for a meaningful audit. To solve this, we’re developing tools and support for workers and allies to crowdsource data and investigate the black-box algorithmic systems behind the platforms that determine pay, schedule, and more, in the platform economy and beyond.  We launched the WAO in 2022. We are currently a nonprofit initiative with funding from the Mozilla Tech Fund  2023 "Auditing AI" cohort .

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Team

We're a team of applied and academic researchers supporting workers and allies

Contact

We help workers and allies audit platform algorithms and AI