Hashtag Trending-Amazon drone manager fired for flagging safety concerns, IBM allegedly lied about cloud sales, OpenAI using Kenyan workers

Amazon’s ex-drone manager says he was fired for raising safety concerns, IBM allegedly deceived the market about its cloud sales and OpenAI used Kenyan workers on less than $2 an hour to make ChatGPT less toxic.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, January 19 and I am your host, Ashee Pamma.

Cheddi Skeete, an ex-Amazon drone manager, claims he was fired after raising safety concerns about Amazon’s delivery drone project and is now suing the company. Upon joining, he noticed there was no onboarding process for new employees, no bathrooms on field site, and most importantly, there were a lot of crashes. He lasted less than 2 years at the company, after he was reportedly denied promotions and ultimately fired, after he raised safety concerns to the internal team. According to TechXplore, in his lawsuit, he also alleged that Amazon discriminated against him because he is a Black man and retaliated against him for raising safety concerns about the drone program. An Amazon spokesperson said that Skeete’s allegations are false and that the company looks forward to proving that in court.

Source: TechXplore

Investors are suing IBM along with 13 of its current and former executives for allegedly using the sales of mainframes to fraudulently prop up cloud sales, The Register reported. The accusation emerged in a lawsuit filed late last week against IBM in New York. It alleged that the company shifted sales by its “near-monopoly” mainframe business to its newer and less popular cloud, analytics, mobile, social, and security products (CAMSS), which executives promoted as growth opportunities and designated as “Strategic Imperatives.” The company is also accused of shifting revenue from its non-strategic Global Business Services (GBS) segment to Watson, its cloud technologies division to convince investors that the company was successfully expanding beyond its legacy business.

Source: The Register

According to a report by The Time, ChatGPT, the popular AI tool, hailed as one of the major technological innovations in 2022, owes its success to Kenyan workers, who were paid less than $2 per hour to make ChatGPT “less toxic”. Being trained on the Internet’s vast repository of human language, ChatGPT predecessor, GPT-3 was also successful for stringing impressive sentences together. But it could also randomly spew hate speech, including violent, racist and sexist remarks, given the widespread toxicity and bias on the Internet. The AI firm hence created another AI model, fed with labeled examples of violence, hate speech or sexual abuse to be integrated in ChatGPT as a detector to filter out all the hateful keywords. To get these labels, tens of thousands of snippets of text were sent to outsourcing firm in Kenya, Sama, which employed data labelers for a take-home wage of between around $1.32 and $2 per hour depending on seniority and performance. TIME reviewed hundreds of pages of internal Sama and OpenAI documents, including workers’ payslips, and interviewed four Sama employees who worked on the project.

Source: Time

According to ProPublica, websites selling abortion pills are sharing sensitive data with Google and other third parties which may allow US law enforcement to prosecute those using medications to end their pregnancies, in states where abortion is illegal. ProPublica found web trackers on the sites of at least nine online pharmacies that provide pills by mail. These third-party trackers, including a Google Analytics tool and advertising technologies, collect a host of details about users and feed them to Google and its third parties. The nine sites are also sending data to Google that can potentially identify users through a random number that is unique to a user’s browser. People tend to assume their health information is legally protected but U.S privacy law does little to limit the kind and amount of data that Big Tech can collect from individuals. Generally, tech companies are not not bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, which limits when certain health care providers and health plans can share a patient’s medical information.

Source: ProPublica

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Ashee Pamma.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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