SCALE AI: A Startup Shaping the Future of AI
In 2018, Alexandr Wang, the cofounder of Scale AI, began to worry that AI might soon upend a world order that has remained mostly stable since World War II. Scale AI was then an up-and-coming startup providing data services primarily to self-driving automakers. That worry led Wang to position Scale AI as a major player in the field of generative AI, garnering a client list that includes the biggest names in AI and the U.S. government.
Scale AI achieved $250 million in revenue in 2021, and investors awarded it a $7.3 billion valuation the same year. However, Scale AI’s success is not built on technology alone. It is also built with a vast outsourced workforce that performs the crucial task of labeling the data used to train AI, primarily through a subsidiary called Remotasks, which employs around 240,000 workers in countries like Kenya, the Philippines, and Venezuela.
Remotasks: The Ethical Aspect of AI’s Workforce
The Remotasks workers are crucial to building powerful AI systems, Wang acknowledges. However, concerns have emerged about substandard working conditions and low pay for these workers. University of Oxford researchers found that Remotasks met the minimum standards of fair work in just two of 10 criteria, failing to offer equitable pay and fair representation.
Despite ethical worries and industry skepticism, Wang remains determined to grow Scale AI in pursuit of its ultimate purpose: playing a role in maintaining America’s AI supremacy. Scale recently signed a strategic partnership with consulting giant Accenture and continues to grow Remotasks, reaffirming Wang’s belief in American leadership in the global AI sector.