To Sen. Schumer: Protect workers as Congress considers the promise and perils of AI

October 24, 2023

As tech leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg join lawmakers in late October for the second bipartisan AI Insight Forum, it’s more important than ever to consider the contributions of the ghost workforce fueling AI. These workers, including content moderators, generally receive low pay, experience harmful working conditions, and don’t receive mental health support.

We joined workers and civil society groups—including Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, Data & Society, the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR), and 24 others—in urging Congress “to consider how workers, across sectors, are already impacted by new technologies and respond to their demands.” The letter specifically asks Congress to:

  • Prioritize the health, safety, and wages of data workers who develop and train AI.
  • Fortify workers’ right to organize and bargain around these issues, without being subject to employer surveillance and union-busting.
  • Protect against predatory surveillance and automated management practices that can harm our physical and mental health, undermine wages, and increase precarity.
  • Address ‘black box’ processes that have already proven to discriminate: hiring, firing, and wage determination.
  • Change public policies that currently incentivize job replacement, deskilling, and fissuring (or “gig-ify”).
  • Guard against low-road business models that concentrate wealth and power away from working people into the hands of corporations.
  • Adopt a framework that addresses the underlying lack of transparency, due process and fairness, and job security in our at-will employment system in the U.S.
  • Incentivize innovation that enhances worker well-being and shared economic prosperity.

You can read the full letter here:

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