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  • Kenyans Petition Parliament to Investigate Alleged Exploitation in Tech Industry

    Kenyans Petition Parliament to Investigate Alleged Exploitation in Tech Industry
  • Njabulo Sandawana
  • Staff Writer
  • posted 7 months ago
  • A petition has been submitted to the Kenyan parliament by a group of individuals who are calling for an investigation into the alleged exploitation of local workers by OpenAI and Sama, as well as the regulation of tech work. The petition, filed by lawyer Mercy Mutemi on behalf of affected individuals, highlights the negative impact of their involvement in training the ChatGPT algorithm. The petitioners argue that while Kenyan youths are encouraged to pursue digital jobs, they should be protected from exploitation.

    The allegations of exploitation stem from a TIME investigative report that revealed Kenyan workers were paid less than $2 per hour by OpenAI, through Sama, to make the chatbot less toxic. Sama terminated its work with OpenAI in February 2022, citing a stressful working environment. Lawyer Mercy Mutemi emphasizes the need for honest conversations about tech work in Kenya on behalf of big tech companies, highlighting the poor pay and detrimental impact on mental health experienced by individuals involved in content moderation and AI data labelling work.

    The petition demands that parliament investigates the operations of Sama and other companies involved in content moderation and AI work, enact legislation regulating harmful technology work, and safeguards workers. The petition details the exposure to explicit and violent material during the training of ChatGPT, without adequate psychosocial support, causing severe mental illnesses in affected individuals.

    The petition submitted by Kenyans highlights the urgent need for greater protection and regulation in the tech industry. It is crucial to create an environment that fosters innovation and growth while safeguarding the rights and dignity of individuals in the industry.

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