“We Are Grunt Workers”: The Lowly Humans Helping Run ChatGPT Make Just $15 Per Hour

In what is likely a harbinger as to how AI will one day all enslave us, it was reported this week that the extremely popular ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot is being “guided” by lowly humans making just $15 per hour.

The company that owns ChatGPT, OpenAI, is reportedly “paying droves of U.S. contractors to assist it with the necessary task of data labelling—the process of training ChatGPT’s software to better respond to user requests”, according to Gizmodo

The article says they are making just $15 per hour for the task of data labeling, wherein data samples are parsed and labeled to help AI “learn” quicker. The task was described as “pivotal” for ChatGPT’s AI processes. 

Worker Alexej Savreux said: “We are grunt workers, but there would be no AI language systems without it. You can design all the neural networks you want, you can get all the researchers involved you want, but without labelers, you have no ChatGPT. You have nothing.”

Sonam Jindal, the program lead for AI, labor and the economy at the Partnership on AI told NBC: “A lot of the discourse around AI is very congratulatory. But we’re missing a big part of the story: that this is still hugely reliant on a large human workforce.” 

Due to the work’s “unsteady, on-demand nature, with people employed by written contracts either directly by a company or through a third-party vendor that specializes in temp work or outsourcing”, NBC noted that some tech companies are starting to publicly commit to fair compensation:

The Partnership on AI warned in a 2021 report that a spike in demand was coming for what it called “data enrichment work.” It recommended that the industry commit to fair compensation and other improved practices, and last year it published voluntary guidelines for companies to follow. DeepMind, an AI subsidiary of Google, is so far the only tech company to publicly commit to those guidelines.

Jindal concluded: “A lot of people have recognized that this is important to do. The challenge now is to get companies to do it. This is a new job that’s being created by AI. We have the potential for this to be a high-quality job and for workers who are doing this work to be respected and valued for their contributions to enabling this advancement.” 

OpenAI had previously outsourced work to Africa, where it could get away with paying workers as low as $2 per hour, Gizmodo wrote. 


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