Kenyan Workers Training ChatGPT Demand Government Investigation of Work Conditions

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Kenyan workers who played a crucial role in training OpenAI’s ChatGPT algorithm have called for an investigation into the working conditions endured at companies like Sama, which provide content moderation and AI services to tech giants such as Google, Meta, and OpenAI. The workers, supported by digital rights advocate Mercy Sumbi, filed a petition with Kenya’s National Assembly, urging them to address the exploitative practices and inadequately regulated tech work that has negatively impacted the lives of young Kenyans.

The petition sheds light on troubling conditions faced by the workers, who were offered temporary contracts by Sama (formerly known as Samasource) without a comprehensive understanding of their job requirements. Once employed, they were allegedly subjected to the arduous task of viewing and categorizing extremely disturbing content involving sexual violence, including bestiality, necrophilia, incestuous acts, harm to minors, self-harm, suicide, torture, and rape. This was done to train ChatGPT to recognize and respond appropriately to such content. Shockingly, the workers received no psychological support, leading to severe mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), paranoia, depression, and anxiety as a result of their exposure to the distressing material.

Mercy Sumbi expressed her concerns about the exploitation faced by African youth at the hands of tech giants, stating, Quite literally the fortunes of Big Tech are currently built on the broken backs and minds of African youth. These sentiments reflect the alarming situation faced by workers in Kenya.

An investigative report by Time magazine in January revealed that these workers were paid less than $2.00 per hour or a maximum of $170 per month for performing this distressing work. One anonymous Sama worker described the experience as torture, mentioning the mental disturbance caused by repeatedly encountering such explicit and horrifying content.

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According to a whistleblower, top management at major tech companies like Microsoft were aware of the traumatic nature of the outsourced work in Kenya. OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, acknowledged the challenges involved in developing AI systems but emphasized the potential benefits outweighing the difficulties.

The nature of the work and its detrimental effects on the Kenyan workforce led Sama to terminate its contract with OpenAI prematurely in February 2022, eight months earlier than planned.

This petition serves as a catalyst for action, urging the National Assembly to investigate the exploitation endured by workers at the hands of Sama and American tech companies. It also calls for the implementation of regulations to safeguard the rights and well-being of tech workers in Kenya.

Sumbi emphasized the importance of honest conversations regarding tech work carried out in Kenya on behalf of Big Tech companies. While striving to become an attractive destination for these companies, she questioned the potential cost if necessary precautions to protect workers are not taken, asserting that exploitation cannot be mistaken for investment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the petition filed by Kenyan workers?

The petition filed by Kenyan workers calls for an investigation into the working conditions endured at companies like Sama, which provide content moderation and AI services to tech giants such as Google, Meta, and OpenAI. The workers are urging Kenya's National Assembly to address the exploitative practices and inadequately regulated tech work that has negatively impacted their lives.

What are some of the troubling conditions faced by the workers?

The workers were offered temporary contracts without a comprehensive understanding of their job requirements. Once employed, they were subjected to the arduous task of viewing and categorizing extremely disturbing content involving sexual violence. They received no psychological support, leading to severe mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), paranoia, depression, and anxiety.

Who is supporting the workers in their petition?

Digital rights advocate Mercy Sumbi is supporting the workers in their petition to the National Assembly. She is highlighting the exploitation faced by African youth at the hands of tech giants and raising concerns about the broken backs and minds of African youth building the fortunes of Big Tech.

What was the compensation for the workers performing this distressing work?

According to an investigative report, the workers were paid less than $2.00 per hour or a maximum of $170 per month for their tasks involving distressing and explicit content.

Were the tech companies aware of the traumatic nature of the outsourced work?

According to a whistleblower, top management at major tech companies like Microsoft were aware of the traumatic nature of the outsourced work in Kenya.

How did Sama's involvement in this work come to an end?

Sama terminated its contract with OpenAI prematurely in February 2022, eight months earlier than planned, due to the nature of the work and its detrimental effects on the Kenyan workforce.

What does the petition aim to achieve?

The petition aims to urge the National Assembly to investigate the exploitation endured by workers at the hands of Sama and American tech companies. It also calls for the implementation of regulations to safeguard the rights and well-being of tech workers in Kenya.

What concerns are raised about the tech work carried out in Kenya?

The concerns raised include the need for honest conversations about the nature of tech work carried out in Kenya on behalf of Big Tech companies. The importance of taking necessary precautions to protect workers is emphasized, as exploitation cannot be mistaken for investment.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Aniket Patel
Aniket Patel
Aniket is a skilled writer at ChatGPT Global News, contributing to the ChatGPT News category. With a passion for exploring the diverse applications of ChatGPT, Aniket brings informative and engaging content to our readers. His articles cover a wide range of topics, showcasing the versatility and impact of ChatGPT in various domains.

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