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January 24 – Mengyang (Zoe) Zhao – Verify You Are Human: How Video Game Automation Intensifies Extraction of Platform Game Work

January 24 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm  |  Humanities 1, Room 210


Part of a broader book project on the rise of platform video game work in China, this study examines the impact of automation fears on escalating labor extraction from gaming service workers. It reveals that platform workers are compelled to demonstrate their “pure manual” services, amidst concerns over automated tools infiltrating the industry. Such pressures lead to practices like live streaming and performing slowness as human labor validation, inadvertently increasing hidden labor and the risk of harassment. This study advocates for recognizing validation labor in explicating automation and labor control in the platform economy, and underscores evolving human-machine dynamics in the global data work landscape.

Prof. Zhao  Zoe Zhao is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. Their interdisciplinary research centers on digital labor, platformization, and social movements, with a particular focus on new forms of work, technology, diaspora and labor activism under platform and venture capitalism. Their art practice leverages gamification to reimagine ways of commoning and queering the care infrastructure.







The Center for Cultural Studies hosts a weekly Wednesday colloquium featuring work by faculty and visitors. We gather at 12:00 PM, with presentations beginning at 12:15 PM.

Staff assistance is provided by The Humanities Institute.


January 24
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Humanities 1, Room 210
1156 high st
Santa cruz, CA 95060 United States
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