Ethical AI
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How Sama Moves People Out of Poverty with Digital Work

Sama’s mission is to connect low-income people to digital work. This post explains the specifics of how this is done.

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If you’re reading this, you probably already know that Sama’s mission is to connect low-income people to digital work. And, if you’re like the majority of people reading this, the details of how exactly we do that are probably a little fuzzy. This post will dispel the mystery!Sama developed an in-house SaaS (software as a service) platform that enables us to send work from our clients to workers at our delivery centers in Kenya, Uganda and India. Sama is the linchpin in our model, as it allows our project managers, agents, and clients to access the work being done, while also allowing us to closely monitor quality and provide feedback for continuous improvements.As a SaaS platform, the Hub can be accessed securely from anywhere - our San Francisco headquarters to our Sama Center in Nairobi, Kenya. To support the Hub, we have a full time, dedicated engineering team that help the Hub evolve to meet changing client needs and continuously improve worker efficiency.During our sales cycle, Sama meets with clients to better understand their data services needs. When a contract is in place, a project manager will partner with the client to design a Hub project workflow that satisfies project requirements, a quality strategy to check work, a training plan and a delivery schedule.On Hub, project managers then upload data from clients that our workers will clean, use as the basis for research, annotate or supplement. Next, they custom-design the task layout and workflow that workers will see when they log in to complete tasks. From question types and dependency logic to an easy-to-read layout, the Hub can accommodate a range of project needs.Once the project is set up, workers complete specialized training to learn the new workflow. Throughout training, workers are coached by on-site team leaders and evaluated by quality analysts until their work is at or above the client’s desired SLA for quality. The SLA is the service level agreement, that is, the level of quality agreed upon in the client’s contract with Sama. When training is complete, workers begin production tasks on the Hub. During production, coaching continues to maintain quality. QAs use the Hub to check task quality and send back tasks that are below quality standards for rework. Once work is completed, it can be downloaded from the Hub or delivered directly to the client via API.In future posts, we’ll go in-depth in two case studies to see how Sama completes work for different verticals: web research and image annotation for machine learning and computer vision applications, and how the Hub is an integral part of our process.Stay tuned!

Audrey Boguchwal
Audrey Boguchwal


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