Millions of gig economy workers in developing countries, including Oskarina Fuentes from Venezuela, are labeling training data for artificial intelligence algorithms, earning minimal wages for large tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Australian company Appen, which offers such work, has attracted workers from crisis-stricken regions, providing them a means of income. However, the unpredictability of the job and paltry pay have raised concerns about the ethical implications of such employment, with some experts likening it to “digital slavery.”
- Workers in developing regions, such as Venezuela, are engaged in labeling training data for AI, with companies like Appen serving as intermediaries between these workers and big tech firms.
- The global data collection and labeling market is booming, valued at $2.22 billion in 2022 and projected to reach $17.1 billion by 2030.
- While these microtasks provide essential income to many, the pay is often minimal, and the unpredictable nature of the work means many are constantly on standby, leading to long working hours.
- Critics highlight the ethical concerns, terming the work as “digital slavery” and emphasizing the disparities between the efforts of these workers and the compensation they receive.
- Despite their significant contributions, these workers seek better recognition, consistent workflow, and consideration as employees, voicing the need for unionization and fairer treatment in the industry.