‘It’s destroyed me completely’: Kenyan moderators decry toll of training of AI models

OpenAI has already taken a toll on human workers. It’s chilling to contemplate that students and creatives are comfortable with relying on this product in any meaningful way. The business model depends on devaluing human labor, and benefitting the powerful.

The 51 moderators in Nairobi working on Sama’s OpenAI account were tasked with reviewing texts, and some images, many depicting graphic scenes of violence, self-harm, murder, rape, necrophilia, child abuse, bestiality and incest, the petitioners say.

The moderators say they weren’t adequately warned about the brutality of some of the text and images they would be tasked with reviewing, and were offered no or inadequate psychological support. Workers were paid between $1.46 and $3.74 an hour, according to a Sama spokesperson.

When the contract with OpenAI was terminated eight months early, “we felt that we were left without an income, while dealing on the other hand with serious trauma”, said petitioner Richard Mathenge, 37. Immediately after the contract ended, petitioner Alex Kairu, 28, was offered a new role by Sama, labeling images of cars, but his mental health was deteriorating. He wishes someone had followed up to ask: “What are you dealing with? What are you going through?”

OpenAI declined to comment for this story. —Guardian

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