OpenAI's Content Moderators Just Unionized in Africa

Major Win In a historic step for outsourced tech labor, over 150 African content moderators — whose work has underpinned AI systems at Facebook, TikTok, and OpenAI — have voted to unionize, Time reports. The newly minted African Content Moderators Union is entirely made up of current and former employees of third-party moderation contractors, according to the report. Those contractors include a popular firm called Sama, which has held lucrative contracts with both Facebook and OpenAI. “For too long we, the workers powering the AI revolution, were treated as different and less than moderators,” Richard Mathenge, a former ChatGPT content moderator, told Time. “Our work is just as important and it is also dangerous.” “We took a historic step today,” he added. “The way is long but we are determined to fight on so that people are not abused the way we were.” Digital Hell From AI to social media, content moderation is one of the most difficult and burdensome jobs in Silicon Valley. Many of those who work in the field are subjected to graphic and traumatizing content. But it’s also one of the most essential positions in the space right now — without moderation, other users could be unwittingly exposed to problematic content. Some of these workers are also helping the likes of OpenAI train their AI models, turning them from racist nonsense-spewing bots into helpful assistants. And yet, reports throughout the years have painted a grim picture of moderators’ work conditions and compensation. Sama, for example, has been accused of…OpenAI's Content Moderators Just Unionized in Africa

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