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Geo-linguistic Dynamics of Virtual Work
in Wikipedia projects and beyond
Cognitive Surplus and Social Mobilization Theory
Han-Teng Liao’s presentation for
September 29, 2013
Virtual Work
or digital-net work (cf. paperwork)
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 2
 Technologies aside, (virtual) work is “linguistically constituted”
and also “geographically configured”.
 (Virtual) work thus depends on the geo-linguistic support
system, including literacy and technology.
 “Cognitive surplus” needed to be accounted linguistically and
geographically
 cf. surplus-labour vs necessary labour in Marxist theory
 Social mobilization of (virtual) work
 Consider HSBC call center field trip in Malta
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 3
middle-range theory of virtual work
Accounting (and then transferring)
“social mobilization surplus” or
“cognitive surplus”
into
potential “human resources” or
labour forces
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 4
“Cognitive surplus” … visualized
McCandless (2010) visualized Shirky (2010)’s idea
http://infobeautiful2.s3.amazonaws.com/goggle_boxes.png
So how big is that “surplus”?
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 5
Wikipedia editing
 So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of
unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole
project--every page, every edit,
every talk page, every line of code,
in every language that Wikipedia
exists in--that represents something
like the cumulation of 100 million
hours of human thought. I worked
this out with Martin Wattenberg at
IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope
calculation, but it's the right order of
magnitude, about 100 million hours
of thought.
Television watching
 Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S.
alone, every year. Put another way, now
that we have a unit, that's 2,000
Wikipedia projects a year spent watching
television. Or put still another way, in the
U.S., we spend 100 million hours every
weekend, just watching the ads…
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 6
butthe US TV-viewing “cognitive surplus” is
not transferrablefor editing, say, Javanese Wikipedia
Shirky’s “cognitive surplus” is limited to
the first-world context
- when spare time is speculated to be
useful for virtual work (or digital net work)
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 7
e.g. Javanese Wikipedia as an early attempt to create the
beginning of media-information-language literacy for
Javanese users to create the basic digital-net work literacy
for themselves (often without state support)
“Social mobilization” theory is not limited to
the first-world context, and it highlights the
role of media-information-language literacy
in the so-called “cognitive surplus”
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 8
Who and which institution can benefit from the social
mobilization of Chinese-language users in digital networked
environment?
Chinese-language case:
social mobilization surplus of Chinese-language
users
Block-and-Diffusion: Disciplining the emerging
social mobilization of mainland Chinese Internet users.
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 9
 the Internet development in China
 better-than-history growth after 2006
 actually “suppressed” significantly in
the early 2000s
 does not match the slow-fast-slow
innovation diffusion S-shape pattern
 does not match the other East Asian
regions
 Wikipedia in mainland China:
the critical years of 2005-2008
 “Great Firewall” as comparative
advantage given to Baidu Baike
 “Great Firewall” as divider for social
mobilization surplus from Chinese-
language internet users
Impacts: divided Chinese-language social
mobilization surplus via SERPs
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 10
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 11
Block-and Diffusion of mainland Chinese Internet users
Redirecting and segregating the growing
mainland Chinese social mobilization
surplus (or “cognitive surplus”) of new
Internet users…
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 12
Block-and Diffusion of mainland Chinese Internet users
or re-shaping the “social mobilization”
processes among Chinese-language users
and information
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 13
Linguistically-constituted
Geographically-configured
Literacy, social mobilization and political development.
How do we account for social mobilization
surplus (or “cognitive surplus”) for more
than just first-world countries?
Chinese Internet users?
Indian Internet users?
Call-center workers?
Theoretical concepts: “social mobilization”
(cf. crowd-sourcing?)
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 14
 “Social mobilization” theory (Deutsch, 1961): a process in
which “old social, economic, and psychological commitments
are eroded or broken and people become available for new
patterns of socialization and behavior.”
 the necessary prior conditions for political mobilization (Cameron,
1974)
 Common practices: nation-state building on mass literacy, mass
media, public culture and political development (usually mono-
lingualism)
 … a “linguistically constituted” public space. (Habermas, 1998, pp.
360-1)
 … a “geographically bounded” nation state
 Creating and accounting (national) “labour force”
Theoretical concepts: geo-linguistic
dynamics
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 15
 “geo-linguistic dynamics”: both old and new patterns of
socialization and behaviours that is “linguistically-constituted”
and “geographically-configured”.
 Empirical bases:
 Global Wikipedia projects
 Global Voice
 Multi-lingual search engine markets and SEOs
 Multi-lingual cities
 “geo-linguistic groups of users”: users that are identified (and
sometimes codified, e.g. “en-UK”, “ar-EG”) by media and ICT
consumption and production systems.
Indicators of social mobilization surplus,
divided by geo-linguistic groups
(instead of countries)
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 16
 Baseline proxy
 Time-use survey
 Internet penetration rates, Global Internet usage, etc.
 “Workaholic” cross-country comparison
 Actualized “virtual work” products of cognitive surplus
 Wikipedia statistics
 Twitter Translation Center
 TED Open Translation Project
Implications for research
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 17
 Development indicators of geo-linguistic
groups (instead of nation-states)
 “developed” versus “developing” groups
 Development indicators of cross- and
trans- geo-linguistic pair comparisons
 Import vs Export
 Core-peripheral relationship among
languages (e.g. en-zh) or among regions
(e.g. ar-EG vs ar-QT, or pt-BR vs pt-PT)
 Strategic pairs: e.g. German-Turkish,
English-Spanish, Chinese-Arabic, etc.
 New media- and information- literacy
beyond (national) mass literacy programs
for new labour force
Implications for policy and market
development
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 18
 Accounting/creating social mobilization surplus(or “cognitive
surplus”) for new markets and new labour force
 Better use of geo-linguistic and geo-cultural data/analysis to
measure and monitor existing and emerging cognitive surplus.
In a nutshell
29 September, 2013@hanteng
Page 19
From creating/accounting (national) or
“labour force”
-- linguistic diversity as “bugs”
To creating/accounting (geo-linguistic)
“social mobilization surplus”
-- linguistic diversity as “features”
Virtual work is “linguistically
constituted” and also “geographically
configured” for social mobilization
Geo-linguistic Dynamics of Virtual Work
in Wikipedia projects and beyond
Cognitive Surplus and Social Mobilization Theory
Han-Teng Liao’s presentation for
September 29, 2013

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201309 geo-linguistic dynamics virtual work liao IS1202 Malta

  • 1. Geo-linguistic Dynamics of Virtual Work in Wikipedia projects and beyond Cognitive Surplus and Social Mobilization Theory Han-Teng Liao’s presentation for September 29, 2013
  • 2. Virtual Work or digital-net work (cf. paperwork) 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 2  Technologies aside, (virtual) work is “linguistically constituted” and also “geographically configured”.  (Virtual) work thus depends on the geo-linguistic support system, including literacy and technology.  “Cognitive surplus” needed to be accounted linguistically and geographically  cf. surplus-labour vs necessary labour in Marxist theory  Social mobilization of (virtual) work  Consider HSBC call center field trip in Malta
  • 3. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 3 middle-range theory of virtual work Accounting (and then transferring) “social mobilization surplus” or “cognitive surplus” into potential “human resources” or labour forces
  • 4. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 4 “Cognitive surplus” … visualized McCandless (2010) visualized Shirky (2010)’s idea http://infobeautiful2.s3.amazonaws.com/goggle_boxes.png
  • 5. So how big is that “surplus”? 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 5 Wikipedia editing  So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project--every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in--that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it's the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought. Television watching  Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads…
  • 6. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 6 butthe US TV-viewing “cognitive surplus” is not transferrablefor editing, say, Javanese Wikipedia Shirky’s “cognitive surplus” is limited to the first-world context - when spare time is speculated to be useful for virtual work (or digital net work)
  • 7. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 7 e.g. Javanese Wikipedia as an early attempt to create the beginning of media-information-language literacy for Javanese users to create the basic digital-net work literacy for themselves (often without state support) “Social mobilization” theory is not limited to the first-world context, and it highlights the role of media-information-language literacy in the so-called “cognitive surplus”
  • 8. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 8 Who and which institution can benefit from the social mobilization of Chinese-language users in digital networked environment? Chinese-language case: social mobilization surplus of Chinese-language users
  • 9. Block-and-Diffusion: Disciplining the emerging social mobilization of mainland Chinese Internet users. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 9  the Internet development in China  better-than-history growth after 2006  actually “suppressed” significantly in the early 2000s  does not match the slow-fast-slow innovation diffusion S-shape pattern  does not match the other East Asian regions  Wikipedia in mainland China: the critical years of 2005-2008  “Great Firewall” as comparative advantage given to Baidu Baike  “Great Firewall” as divider for social mobilization surplus from Chinese- language internet users
  • 10. Impacts: divided Chinese-language social mobilization surplus via SERPs 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 10
  • 11. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 11 Block-and Diffusion of mainland Chinese Internet users Redirecting and segregating the growing mainland Chinese social mobilization surplus (or “cognitive surplus”) of new Internet users…
  • 12. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 12 Block-and Diffusion of mainland Chinese Internet users or re-shaping the “social mobilization” processes among Chinese-language users and information
  • 13. 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 13 Linguistically-constituted Geographically-configured Literacy, social mobilization and political development. How do we account for social mobilization surplus (or “cognitive surplus”) for more than just first-world countries? Chinese Internet users? Indian Internet users? Call-center workers?
  • 14. Theoretical concepts: “social mobilization” (cf. crowd-sourcing?) 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 14  “Social mobilization” theory (Deutsch, 1961): a process in which “old social, economic, and psychological commitments are eroded or broken and people become available for new patterns of socialization and behavior.”  the necessary prior conditions for political mobilization (Cameron, 1974)  Common practices: nation-state building on mass literacy, mass media, public culture and political development (usually mono- lingualism)  … a “linguistically constituted” public space. (Habermas, 1998, pp. 360-1)  … a “geographically bounded” nation state  Creating and accounting (national) “labour force”
  • 15. Theoretical concepts: geo-linguistic dynamics 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 15  “geo-linguistic dynamics”: both old and new patterns of socialization and behaviours that is “linguistically-constituted” and “geographically-configured”.  Empirical bases:  Global Wikipedia projects  Global Voice  Multi-lingual search engine markets and SEOs  Multi-lingual cities  “geo-linguistic groups of users”: users that are identified (and sometimes codified, e.g. “en-UK”, “ar-EG”) by media and ICT consumption and production systems.
  • 16. Indicators of social mobilization surplus, divided by geo-linguistic groups (instead of countries) 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 16  Baseline proxy  Time-use survey  Internet penetration rates, Global Internet usage, etc.  “Workaholic” cross-country comparison  Actualized “virtual work” products of cognitive surplus  Wikipedia statistics  Twitter Translation Center  TED Open Translation Project
  • 17. Implications for research 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 17  Development indicators of geo-linguistic groups (instead of nation-states)  “developed” versus “developing” groups  Development indicators of cross- and trans- geo-linguistic pair comparisons  Import vs Export  Core-peripheral relationship among languages (e.g. en-zh) or among regions (e.g. ar-EG vs ar-QT, or pt-BR vs pt-PT)  Strategic pairs: e.g. German-Turkish, English-Spanish, Chinese-Arabic, etc.  New media- and information- literacy beyond (national) mass literacy programs for new labour force
  • 18. Implications for policy and market development 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 18  Accounting/creating social mobilization surplus(or “cognitive surplus”) for new markets and new labour force  Better use of geo-linguistic and geo-cultural data/analysis to measure and monitor existing and emerging cognitive surplus.
  • 19. In a nutshell 29 September, 2013@hanteng Page 19 From creating/accounting (national) or “labour force” -- linguistic diversity as “bugs” To creating/accounting (geo-linguistic) “social mobilization surplus” -- linguistic diversity as “features” Virtual work is “linguistically constituted” and also “geographically configured” for social mobilization
  • 20. Geo-linguistic Dynamics of Virtual Work in Wikipedia projects and beyond Cognitive Surplus and Social Mobilization Theory Han-Teng Liao’s presentation for September 29, 2013