Last Week in AI #96

Invisible workers of AI, how AI can help with dyslexia, and more!

Happy Holidays! Last Week in AI will take a break over the next two weeks and resume in January. We wish everyone a fantastic holiday season and will see you in the new year!

Mini Briefs

AI needs to face up to its invisible-worker problem

In an interview with the MIT Tech Review, Saiph Savage, director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at West Virginia University, reviews her work on addressing the "invisible-worker" problem of AI. In the U.S., more than a million people work on platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, which tasks human workers to label data used later to train machine learning models. Other tasks, like transcribing audio for voice assistants and flagging inappropriate content, are also common.

Savage points out the main problems with these platforms are the low wages and lack of career development opportunities. While more than 250k workers in the U.S. earn at least three-quarters of their income through such work, they're only paid on average $2 per hour, far below minimum wage. Programs that help workers optimize for task selection, share advice, or allow workers to run their own data-labeling platforms may help alleviate these issues.

How artificial intelligence helped me overcome my dyslexia

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of a "market intelligence platform for AI," shares her experience with how simple AI-powered tools help her tackle challenges caused by dyslexia. Improved spelling and grammar checking software, like SwiftKey and Grammerly, have improved her ability to quickly communicate, and so do recent advances in voice-to-text. An important aspect of AI-based tools is their ability to adapt to user data over time, improving their effectiveness the more they're used. Goldstaub emphasizes that the usefulness of AI-powered automation technology means that they will only grow more popular and powerful in the future, and it is in the interest of both individuals and society as a whole to adapt accordingly to mitigate the disruption AI will have on jobs and its risks in biased decision making.

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