- is an online magazine where you can find news and updates on modern technologies

IT business

Artificial intelligence slaves: African workers accuse OpenAI, Meta and others of inhumane working conditions - open letter to Biden

Artificial intelligence slaves: African workers accuse OpenAI, Meta and others of inhumane working conditions - open letter to Biden
0 0 0 0
  • Artificial intelligence language models, such as ChatGPT from OpenAI, partially gather data from low-paid workers. Contractors in poor countries pay small amounts for tasks like correcting chatbot data, labeling images, and so on. On May 22, 97 African workers involved in AI training or content moderation for companies like Meta and OpenAI, published an open letter to President Biden demanding an end to "systematic abuses and exploitation of African workers" by American tech companies.
  • The majority of signatories live in Kenya, a center for technological outsourcing, whose president, William Ruto, is visiting the US this week. Workers claim that the practices of companies like Meta, OpenAI, and data provider Scale AI are "equivalent to modern-day slavery."
  • The letter states that the typical workday for African workers involves "viewing killings and beheadings, cruelty to children and rape, pornography and bestiality, often for more than 8 hours a day." Payment is less than $2 per hour, and workers often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder— a well-documented issue among content moderators worldwide.

Work includes checking content on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, as well as labeling images and training chatbot responses for companies like OpenAI. Employees are associated with the African Content Moderators Union, the first content moderators union on the continent, as well as a group founded by former employees who previously trained AI models for companies like Scale AI, which sells data packages and data labeling services to clients, including OpenAI, Meta, and the US military. The letter was published on the site of the British activist group Foxglove, which promotes technical worker union activity and fair technology.

According to the letter, in March, Scale AI suddenly banned people from Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan from working on Remotasks, Scale AI's platform for contract work. The letter states that these workers were fired without warning and are owed significant amounts of unpaid wages.

"When Remotasks closed, it took our means of livelihood away from our hands, food from our kitchens. But Scale AI, a large company that controlled the platform, still gets away with it because it is based in San Francisco," says Joan Kinyua, a former Remotasks employee.

While the Biden administration has often described its approach to labor policy as worker-oriented, the African workers' letter alleges that it does not apply to them: "they treat us as disposable."

"You have the power to end our exploitation by American companies, clean up this work, and provide us with dignity and fair working conditions. You can ensure there is good work for Kenyans, not just Americans," the letter states.

In recent years, technical contractors in Kenya have filed many lawsuits alleging that technological outsourcing companies and their American clients, like Meta, treated workers unlawfully. The letter to Biden demands that he ensures American tech companies collaborate with foreign technical workers in compliance with local laws and do not engage in anti-union practices. It also suggests that tech companies be held accountable in US courts for their illegal operations, especially for human and labor rights violations.

The letter comes just over a year after 150 workers formed the African Content Moderators Union. According to workers, immediately after this, Meta fired almost all of its 300 moderators in Kenya and effectively dismantled the newly formed union. The company is now facing three lawsuits from over 180 Kenyan workers demanding more humane working conditions, the freedom to form organizations, and payment of owed wages.

Source: Wired

Thanks, your opinion accepted.

Comments (0)

There are no comments for now

Leave a Comment:

To be able to leave a comment - you have to authorize on our website

Related Posts