That AI You’re Using Was Trained By Slave Labor, Basically

Sorry Servitude AI has a dirty secret: the people hired to train it are making literal pennies on the dollar, tantamount to slave labor. As Wired reports, AI-labeling workers often live in places like Venezuela and the Philippines — and even in refugee camps in Lebanon and Kenya — where wages are low and people are in dire need of work. The “microtasks” they find with the gig apps that employ them, however, often end up paying even less than those countries’ paltry minimum wages. Oskarina Fuentes, a Venezuelan national who eventually moved to Colombia to escape poverty, told Wired that working for the Australian data services company Appen, she nets $280 on a good month while working 18-hour days from her bed, which is just shy of her adoptive country’s $285 monthly minimum wage. Fuentes described waking up as early as two in the morning in attempts to get first pick of Appen’s tasks, which involve tagging algorithm training data for companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. The tasks pay out between two and 50 cents each, and in a typical hour-and-a-half of work, she’d receive about one American dollar — though when work is slow, she’ll sometimes make only make a dollar or two per day. Crowded Market Mutmain, an 18-year-old from Pakistan, told the magazine that he used a family member’s ID to start working on Appen when he was only 15. Today, he works outrageous hours: 8am until 6pm, and then again from 2am until 6am —…That AI You’re Using Was Trained By Slave Labor, Basically

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