A small group of companies providing AI services claim that they are treating their contract data workers ethically, by providing benefits usually only available to employees.
AI depends on a lot of ‘hidden labour’: people who clean, categorize, and label the data to prepare it for AI to search. Most of this is done by gig workers who earn low wages with no social security or progression opportunities. This enables the companies they serve to compete on the cost and speed of their services.
Several platforms, including Alegion, CloudFactory, Digital Divide Data (DDD), iMerit, and Samasource, claim they are working to make AI data work dignified, by offering better working conditions and career prospects. For instance, iMerit, whose workforce is mostly in India, offers career progression and six months of maternity leave. In Kenya and Uganda, workers for Samasource have full-time jobs with benefits such as health care, pensions, subsidized meals, and 90 days of maternity leave.