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Underpaying IT Staff in Africa

As San-Francisco-based AI development firm OpenAI’s dream of achieving general artificial intelligence (AI) picks up speed (see the article on Big Tech above), reports of how it used 200 underpaid Kenyans to remove racism, sexism, and violence from ChatGPT-3’s language model make sorry reading. OpenAI didn’t learn from Meta, which was sued in Nairobi last May by content moderators for union busting and contracting Sama, a company that subjected them to inhumane working conditions when employed to remove harmful content from Facebook’s algorithms. Now, after OpenAI’s GPT-3 project of perfecting the results the platform generates was completed last November, Sama retrenched all employees and closed the Nairobi office for good. In a recent blog post, Sama said that it understood “that this is a difficult day, [but] we believe it is the right long-term decision for our business.” It asked sacked workers to apply for “other open positions in the Sama East African offices.”

Alastair Tempest

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