TEDx Silicon Valley: Empowering the Poor in the Digital Age

I gave a talk in December at a local TED event on Social Change and Innovation. The main idea is that handouts aren’t very effective, and that digital work is a new way to provide good employment to the people who need it most. I also talked briefly about the “virtual assembly line” — the idea that technology can stitch together groups of casual workers across time zones and geographies to work on large projects for paying customers. This concept is what makes Samasource viable, and I think it lies at the heart of the emerging field of paid crowdsourcing.


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3 responses to “TEDx Silicon Valley: Empowering the Poor in the Digital Age

  1. What Leila is basically suggesting is to harness the intellectual skills of many more people by rethinking the models we still rely on to generate income. Her final line “What people need most is not our charity but a decent way to earn a living.” strikes me as an old truth yet I doubt we can circumvent the inconvenient truth that power and inequality are created and reproduced on a daily level by the lifestyle of some nations and groups within, rather than the lack of opportunities for many. What I fear the proposals may lead to if implemented on a larger scale is promoting the poor to the new working poor by a model that resembles the Mechanical Turk run by Amazon.

  2. Dan

    Leila…you’re absolutely right.
    Would love to connect with you and chat about how we can collaborate with you to help change the world!
    Feel free to drop me an email, I’ve also send you a message via facebook.
    Keep up the outstanding work and chat to you soon

  3. sri

    It is totally true that the future of work is going to involve developing world folks and the digital world. But ideas such as virtual farms on a social network seem to be shortsighted, and lacking in meaningful work that will provide dignity. Can the power relationships of the MNC which dominate the farmer in latin america, for example, be shifted through samsource or samsource 2.0? It can’t be the answer to marginally plug in to a global economy that is systematically rigged and unsustainable so you can get a small piece of the pie

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