The Anatomy of AI is a great piece that examines the hidden costs associated with AI and personal assistant devices. Specifically, the diagram above “visualizes three central, extractive processes that are required to run a large-scale artificial intelligence system: material resources, human labor, and data.”
A few fun (and depressing) quotes indicating the disparity of resources between the persons at each end of the processes:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, at the top of our fractal pyramid, made an average of $275 million a day during the first five months of 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 17 A child working in a mine in the Congo would need more than 700,000 years of non-stop work to earn the same amount as a single day of Bezos’ income.
Regarding the methods used to ship components:
Even industry-friendly sources like the World Shipping Council admit that thousands of containers are lost each year, on the ocean floor or drifting loose. 29 Some carry toxic substances which leak into the oceans. Typically, workers spend 9 to 10 months in the sea, often with long working shifts and without access to external communications. Workers from the Philippines represent more than a third of the global shipping workforce. 30 The most severe costs of global logistics are born by the atmosphere, the oceanic ecosystem and all it contains, and the lowest paid workers.