Google cuts ties with company that help train Bard, here’s why



Google has terminated its contract with Appen Ltd, the Australian company responsible for labeling vast amounts of training data for Bard, Google’s conversational AI platform. In a statement, Appen said it received notification from Google “that as part of a strategic review process it will be terminating its global inbound services contract with Appen, resulting in the cessation of all projects with Appen by 19 March2024.Appen had no priorknowledge of Google’s decision to terminate the contract.”
For Appen, losing Google as a major client represents a significant blow, potentially impacting its financial stability and future prospects.“The news is unexpected and disappointing, particularly considering the progress made against Appen’s transformation and performance in November and December 2023,” the company said
“Our decision to end the contract was made as part of our ongoing effort to evaluate and adjust many of our supplier partnerships across Alphabet to ensure our vendor operations are as efficient as possible,” Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini said in a statement to The Verge.
Google and Appen found themselves embroiled in disputes, particularly regarding wage disagreements. Back in 2019, Google mandated that its contractors compensate their employees at a rate of $15 per hour. However, it was revealed through public letters from certain workers that Appen failed to meet this requirement, according to a report by CNBC.
In January 2023, following extensive efforts in organization, Appen implemented salary increases for freelancers engaged in projects such as the Bard chatbot and other Google initiatives. The new rates ranged from $14 to $14.50 per hour.
Despite these adjustments, labour-related issues persisted. By June of the same year, Appen faced allegations from the US National Labor Relations Board after purportedly terminating six freelancers who publicly aired grievances about workplace conditions. Subsequently, these workers were reinstated, marking a point of contention in the ongoing labour dynamics.




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