The human costs of the AI boom

– The use of cloudwork platforms is widespread, with major technology companies like OpenAI, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google relying on outsourced labor for various services.

– Cloudwork platforms, such as Scale AI, Freelancer.com, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Fiverr, and Upwork, have become essential for AI training, content moderation, translation, graphic design, and other tasks.

– A study by University of Oxford scholars estimated that over 163 million people are registered on these platforms.

– While companies benefit from these platforms due to cheap and skilled labor available 24/7, workers face challenges related to unpaid time spent searching for jobs and uncertain pay.

– The Fairwork project, based at the University of Oxford, evaluated 15 cloudwork platforms based on principles of fair work, including pay, conditions, contracts, management, and representation.

– None of the evaluated platforms met more than half of the basic standards for decent work.

– Freelance platforms like Fiverr and Freelancer.com scored low, with 2 and 1 points respectively, while platforms focused on smaller tasks had even worse scores.

– Average earnings for workers on these platforms were as low as $2.15 USD for their working time.

– Cloudwork platforms often bypass national labor regulations, creating challenges for workers' rights and protections.