Unmasking the Shadows of AI: Ethical Concerns in the Digital Workforce

The artificial intelligence (AI) industry has undoubtedly transformed the way we live and work, promising unprecedented levels of automation and convenience. However, as the technology continues to advance, a dark cloud looms over the AI sector – the exploitation of the digital workforce in data annotation.

We at Kognic have spoken about these unethical practices in the AI industry before - the digital workforce used in data annotation is being unfairly exploited by many players in our ecosystem. 


“AI needs lots of human help. In a Philippine slum, SvD meets young men who sit all day and click… they themselves can barely afford food.”


A recent report by SVD, a prominent business publication in Sweden, brought to the forefront the plight of young individuals in Philippine slums who spend their days engaged in data annotation tasks. These workers, often paid meager wages, find themselves in a cycle of poverty where they can barely afford the basic necessities of life, including food. It is a stark reminder that behind the AI-powered applications and technologies we use every day, there is a human workforce that is often invisible and vulnerable.

Other Important Media Reports on the Issue

The issue of exploitative practices in the AI industry has garnered the attention of the international media as well. Time Magazine published an article highlighting the challenges faced by workers in Kenya who are part of the AI data annotation workforce. Similarly, Rest of World has published an exposé on the export industry that supports AI, shedding light on the working conditions of those who contribute to training AI models.

Amid growing concerns about the ethical implications of exploiting the digital workforce, industry leaders are beginning to take a stand. Daniel Langkilde, CEO of Kognic, has been at the forefront of pushing this issue into the spotlight. Through his LinkedIn posts and direct conversations with the market, he has drawn attention to the urgent need for fair treatment of workers in the AI industry.

A Call for Ethical Practices

Kognic is not just raising awareness about the issue; we are actively working to be part of the solution. We are taking steps to ensure that our partners meet higher standards in terms of fair pay, fair working conditions, fair contracts, fair representation, and fair management. These market-leading agreements set a precedent for ethical practices within the AI industry.

Want to be on the right side of this? Can we show you our market-leading agreements with BPOs who must meet our higher standards of fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair representation, and fair management? We think this is important. Does your current technology partner agree?