Counterfactual | stalgia grigg

distributed labor and speculative truth

counterfactual is a set of CAPTCHA tools that use distributed labor to generate speculative and radical datasets.

CAPTCHAs ("Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart") are tools that determine whether a user agent is an automated bot. These tools are a useful defense against many simple attacks; they are also an easy way to trick humans into performing acts of microlabor. This labor, tiny but performed in vast repetitions across distributed software systems, generates data that is used to train machine learning models to do tasks that come easy to humans but are challenging to machines.

counterfactual exposes this while also using the same mechanism of distributed labor to generate data of a different kind. It does this through speculative prompts that ask humans (& bots) to answer questions about a world in which the project of abolition has already been successful.


summer microresidency