Google Assistant Contractors Slam Tech Giant As ‘White-Collar Sweatshop’

Google is running a “white-collar sweatshop,” according to their Assistant contractors.

“It’s smoke and mirrors if anything,” a current Google employee told The Guardian. “Artificial intelligence is not that artificial; it’s human beings that are doing the work.”

“It’s like a white-collar sweatshop. If it’s not illegal, it’s definitely exploitative. It’s to the point where I don’t use the Google Assistant, because I know how it’s made, and I can’t support it.”

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Fox News:

Google’s use of artificial intelligence to power many of its products, including its Google Assistant, inspires awe and praise.

Although the Assistant can book a restaurant reservation and translate live conversations in two dozen languages, a group of contractors toiling behind the scenes builds the gigantic data sets required to power the technology.

According to a new report in The Guardian, those contractors — part of a much larger group of more than 100,000 temps, vendors and contractors at Google — have been pressured to work unpaid overtime and often feel like second-class citizens at the tech giant.

“It’s smoke and mirrors if anything,” a current Google employee told the British news outlet. “Artificial intelligence is not that artificial; it’s human beings that are doing the work.”

The group of Google employees that spoke with The Guardian work on Pygmalion, which is the team that produces the linguistic data sets that power Assistant and allow it to understand so many different languages. The workers charge that their concerns were raised internally but ultimately ignored and they described Google’s overall two-tier system of employees as “corrosive,” “highly problematic” and “permissive of exploitation.” More

I thought progressive companies like Google and Facebook were all about the underprivileged? I thought they were interested in equality of pay, peoples rights, safe spaces, etc.

But I do think the contract workers being treated as 2nd class citizen is very common across all industries.  The contractors where I previously worked were definitely treated much less well than the actual employees. They are free to leave.  Nobody is forcing anyone to stay at Google, or anywhere.

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