Duolingo Fires Translators in Favor of AI

Et Tu, Duo? The popular language-learning app Duolingo cut 10 percent of its contracted translators last month amid a push to integrate generative AI into its services, multiple outlets have reported. A Duolingo spokesperson confirmed the December 2023 workforce slash to Bloomberg on Monday, claiming that DuoLingo “just no longer [needs] as many people to do the type of work some of these contractors were doing.” “Part of that,” the spokesperson added, “could be attributed to AI.” Elsewhere, in a statement provided to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a Duolingo spokesperson said that the company uses “AI for a variety of different functions and tasks,” but conceded again that “there is some merit to the idea that AI is contributing to the reduction of our contract workforce.” It’s another alarming turn in an increasingly AI-laden labor market in which company leaders continue to implement automated technology wherever they can — often, as in this case, at the cost of human jobs. Estás Despedido! According to Bloomberg, the firings were doled out just a few weeks after Duolingo bragged in a November letter to shareholders that the company was harnessing AI to produce “new content dramatically faster.” Duolingo also reportedly uses AI to generate some of the voices heard in various in-app language scripts and to prompt AI-generated feedback to users. To make matters even more depressing: in a late December Reddit thread, a site user claiming to be one of the fired Duolingo translators alleged that their former team’s remaining contractors are now…Duolingo Fires Translators in Favor of AI

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