Microsoft is again accused of having the company transfer to contractors the work that artificial intelligence should essentially do. This time, the matter concerns the voice assistant Cortana, whose requests are handled by a large staff of low-paid employees.
An anonymous contractor who works for Microsoft described exactly how they help Cortana. According to him, his duties include transcribing voice requests and classifying them into one of several dozen groups: video games, communication, events, and so on. This is done so that Cortana better understands human speech.
Each employee must process approximately 200 requests per hour, that is, 18 seconds per request. Moreover, the salary by the standards of the United States is not so big: 12-14 dollars per hour, plus the opportunity to get another dollar as a bonus.
Apple, Google, and Facebook have also been seen using contractors for these kinds of tasks. However, Microsoft, unlike its colleagues, did not stop this practice, but rather indicated that the work of their voice assistant "may include transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and contractors."