May 30, 2019

Bot driving, at less than $2 an hour

Kiwi robot

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

The sidewalk bots that trundle through Berkeley, delivering food to students and residents near campus, are guided remotely.

Why it matters: The Kiwi Campus bot overseers are sitting thousands of miles away in Colombia, the native country of the company's 3 co-founders, reports Carolyn Said for the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • They each watch over up to three robots, setting waypoints every 5–10 seconds to get them from place to place.
  • And they're paid under $2 an hour for the work, Said reports — above local minimum wage.

Our thought bubble: We've written about the invisible, underpaid class of workers who power and improve AI, often from outside the developed countries where the technology is deployed for others' benefit. This couldn't be a better illustration of the pattern.

Kiwi did not respond to requests for comment.

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