TUCKED INTO A back corner, the baby-food section of Whole Foods in San Francisco’s SoMa district doesn’t get much foot traffic. I reach towards the apple and broccoli superfood puffs. After dropping them into my empty shopping cart, I put them right back. “Did you get it?” I ask my coworker filming on his iPhone. It’s my first paid acting gig. I’m helping teach software the skills needed to help people with their shopping.

Whole Foods was an unwitting participant in this program, a project of German-Canadian startup Twenty Billion Neurons. I quietly perform nine other brief actions, including opening freezers, and pushing a cart from right to left, then left to right. Then I walk out without buying a thing. Later, it takes me around 30 minutes to edit the clips to the required 2 to 5 seconds, and upload them.

Read more: To Make AI Smarter, Humans Perform Oddball Low-Paid Tasks

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Published by Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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To Make AI Smarter, Humans Perform Oddball Low-Paid Tasks

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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