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The artificial intelligence revolution has been widely celebrated for its seemingly autonomous capabilities. The truth is that human input is still very much needed to guide these learning systems.

A new report by NBC News has revealed that OpenAI, the startup behind the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, relies heavily on human contractors. These contractors perform the crucial task of data labeling. However, OpenAI pays them as little as $15 per hour.

Data labeling is the essential process of tagging specific items in a dataset, whether visual images or text, to help machines identify them independently. This task is vital in training machine learning models but is often overlooked despite its importance.

No ChatGPT without labelers

There would be no ChatGPT or any other AI language systems without people labeling data. Despite their crucial role, most data labelers are not paid particularly well for their work. OpenAI’s contractors receive no benefits and are paid little more than the minimum wage in some states.

One of OpenAI’s contractors, based in Kansas City, Missouri and named in the NBC story, makes $15 per hour. This is still better than what the company used to pay its moderators in Africa. The pay for them could go as low as $2 per hour.

Ethical AI supply chains?

OpenAI is outsourcing to countries with limited labor laws and depressed wages to cut costs. The company is doing this despite its proclaimed commitment to ethical AI supply chains. As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and become more ubiquitous, it is crucial to remember that technology depends on human input.

The people responsible for data labeling and other essential tasks deserve to be compensated fairly for contributing to this rapidly growing industry.

Companies like OpenAI have a responsibility to prioritize the well-being and fair compensation of their human workers, who are instrumental in building and refining the AI systems that have the potential to shape our future.

Also read: The jobs most at risk to generative AI like ChatGPT