The Washington Post Reports on Working Conditions of AI Moderating Freelancers in Philippines
The Washington Post reports on the challenging work environment faced by freelancers in the Philippines using the Remotasks platform, created by Scale AI.
The platform, which enables AI-related tasks, has a significant user base, but legal regulation remains uncertain.
Initial promises of earnings of up to $10 per task and $200 per week have been met with delays and reduced payments.
In an article by The Washington Post, the challenging work environment faced by thousands of freelancers in the Philippines who engage with the Remotasks platform has been highlighted. Remotasks, a creation of Scale AI, a prominent contractor collaborating with industry giants such as Meta*, Google, and OpenAI, serves as a platform for these freelancers.
Utilizing Remotasks, freelancers contribute to the annotation of datasets for AI, editing texts generated by neural networks, and creating descriptions for videos. These tasks are pivotal in training various AI applications, including autonomous driving systems.
The piece estimates that over 2 million individuals in the Philippines could potentially participate in similar freelance work, with approximately 10,000 individuals currently utilizing Remotasks. However, the status of such platforms in terms of legal regulation remains uncertain in the absence of official recognition.
Initially, freelancers on Remotasks were promised potential earnings of up to $10 per task and $200 per week. However, reports indicate that actual payments frequently fall short of this commitment, often dipping below the daily living wage in the Philippines, which ranges between $6 to $10. Delays, reduced payments, or lack of payment altogether have been experienced by some workers. Furthermore, cases have been reported where individuals were unexpectedly blocked from the platform without explanation, rendering them unable to continue working.
Scale AI acknowledges these challenges and asserts that such instances are declining in frequency. The company is actively working to enhance the working conditions of freelancers by incorporating their feedback.
Scale AI, the organization behind Remotasks, commands an estimated valuation of $7 billion.
In summary, The Washington Post’s article sheds light on the arduous circumstances encountered by freelancers participating in AI-related tasks through platforms like Remotasks. The practical utility of these efforts and the substantial engagement of individuals underscore the evolving landscape of remote AI work. The article also outlines the gap between initial promises and actual earnings, as well as the steps being taken to address these concerns by Scale AI, a key player in the AI industry.
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