You might have no trouble passing the “show you’re not a robot” CAPTCHA tests, but Tesla’s Autopilot systems are still not very good at recognising the squares with the traffic signals. Fortunately, the EV behemoth employs real people to help the computers. But…

Although you may find it simple to complete the CAPTCHA “prove you’re not a robot” questions, Tesla’s Autopilot computers are still not very good at recognising the squares with the traffic signals. Thankfully, the EV behemoth employs actual people to help the computers.

Yet, those same workers at Tesla’s Autopilot section informed CEO Elon Musk via email on Tuesday morning that they intended to organise a union. The workers are being represented by the same union that assisted Starbucks employees in a broad and generally successful unionisation effort. If it doesn’t wake Musk up in the morning, a chai latte could.

The Union Pile-Up.

In a tweet from 2018, Musk expressed his disdain of unions, and the National Labor Relations Board later ordered him to take the message down. Also, Tesla was compelled by the federal agency to change the confidentiality agreements it required workers to sign and to rehire a union organiser it had previously sacked. Although being in the car industry, one of the most strongly unionised, Tesla has managed to avoid having a union, thus this did not deter Musk from continuing to publicly express his dislike for unions.

The team behind Tuesday’s email analyses video from Tesla cars’ cameras and labels the many items that appear, creating the training data that enables the vehicle to distinguish, for example, between a stop sign and a child. Nearly all Big Tech behemoths depend on this kind of precise work, and the similarities don’t stop there:

  • One of the organisers quoted an old Amazon employee rallying cry, “We are not robots,” in an interview with Bloomberg. Also, six Tesla employees told Bloomberg that they try to skip restroom breaks due to the pace of their work. Does this sound familiar?
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently looking into Tesla’s Autopilot, which is likely the most PR-sensitive aspect of its operations. In light of this, the corporation probably wants to end this current union campaign as soon as possible, especially in light of employee remarks in the news regarding feeling pressed for time to meet productivity standards.

Off-Fording: European Ford workers may be enquiring about redundancy benefits while US Tesla workers scream for unionisation. Ford revealed on Tuesday that 3,800 jobs, or 11% of its European workforce, would be lost. Ford claimed that part of the reason for the cuts was due to the company’s intention to sell entirely electrified vehicles by the year 2030. You can blame the green movement for the pink slips.

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