This paper will present a case study analysis of several “on-demand work” platforms, starting from Uber and Amazon Mechanical Turk, one of the first schemes founded in 2005, which is arguably
“employing humans-as-a-service”. It splits a single service in several micro “Human Intelligence Tasks” (such as tagging photographs, writing short descriptions, transcribing podcasts, processing raw data). “Turkers/Providers” (workers) are selected by “Requesters” (firms) to quickly accomplish assignments online, and then rated according to an internal system and finally paid only if delivery is accepted. I comment upon the business model of TaskRabbit (thousands of people using the service who bid to do simple manual tasks), Handy and Wonolo (personal assistance at a local level, specifically designed to cater to business market), UpWork (online staffing), Uber and Lyft (peer-to-peer ridesharing), InnoCentive (engineering solutions), Axiom (legal research or service).