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AI without AI: Online Accounting Company's Artificial Intelligence Was Not What Everyone Thought

A former employee spills the beans.

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You won't be able to trust anyone after this story. If you ever wondered if AI functions are actually performed by real people, you aren't (that) crazy. A former employee of QuickBooks, an online accounting company, Mike Rundle revealed why 7-10 years ago, users could wait hours for its software's AI to count their money. 

It turns out, there was no AI. Users would upload receipts and expect artificial intelligence to identify the expense amount and category automatically, but in reality, it was workers in the Philippines who calculated that. So if your app took a while, it meant they were just asleep. 

"Next we'll find out DALL-E was just 1000 Spanish surrealists," said one X/Twitter user, and it doesn't sound as silly anymore. 

Not so long ago, Amazon had to give up its Just Walk Out system, which allowed you to just take the goods you wanted and walk out of the store, the system would charge you automatically. According to Futurism, the company relied on an "army of over 1,000 workers in India" who were actually remote cashiers.

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