EVENT: AI & Global Workers’ Rights

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A recent Kalmanovitz Initiative -sponsored webinar on A.I. and Global Workers’ Rights on January 20 spotlighted the urgent need for working people to have more control over the design and implementation of artificial intelligence in worksites, and more access to the information that it generates. The webinar was part of a series in the Kalmanovitz Initiative’s New Social Compact project.  

“The camera is the manager, and is always there,”  noted Sheheryar Kaoosji, Executive Director, Warehouse Workers United about Amazon and other warehouses.. “Because workers work so quickly, they have higher injury rates…you’re racing against the clock.” 

“It was invasive, and it felt like every one of my moves was being watched,” noted Strea Sanchez, former Amazon warehouse worker and organizer with United for Respect, in regard to the high level of artificial intelligence in surveillance of workers at Amazon. “They had cameras that watched how far apart everyone was,” she noted, “and people would be written up for that.”

Rob Weill, Director of Field Programs, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), noted that though teachers, students and parents may not have seen A.I. at work in education it was “alive and well during the pandemic, but unfortunately it didn’t produce the results that people had been hoping for.”  

Michael Schoenstein, Head of Strategic Foresight and Analysis, German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, noted that there is a variation in what is labeled A.I., and that it differs depending on the “social processes into which such technology is embedded,” including work flows, business models and the larger policy context.     

The roundtable discussion was moderated by Uma Rani, Senior Economist, International Labour Organization.  

Our friends at FES-DC, created a highlights video of the event below:

For the full video, see here or on our Facebook page.

For more information on the New Social Compact project, including the call for nominations for the June 2-3, 2022 public forum, see here.