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Sama Becomes First AI Company to Receive Validation From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Impact Model With Randomized Control Trial Study

By: WebWire

Sama, the training data platform trusted by the world's leading AI teams, today announces the completion of its three-year Randomized Control Trial (RCT) study in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Innovations for Poverty Action, validating the effectiveness of its impact sourcing model.

Specializing in image, video, language, and sensor data annotation and validation to power AI/ML solutions for leading companies, including Google, NVIDIA, GM, and Walmart, Sama was founded with a mission to provide unprecedented opportunities to communities in underserved regions across the world. Since its inception, Sama has impacted more than 55,000 thousand students, workers, and their dependents, and provided living wages that are on average 4.3x higher than those typically received in their operating regions.

Sama's late-founder, Leila Janah, sought out to further validate the real-world benefits of the company's impact sourcing model in historically underserved communities. To do so, Sama partnered with MIT and Innovations for Poverty Action to undergo a rigorous three-year RCT study to evaluate the effects of Sama's impact model on employees in Africa.

“We chose to complete an RCT study for two reasons. One is that it is the most effective and credible way to prove the success of a business model, and the second is Leila's long-term goal to demonstrate that Sama is truly changing people's lives,” said Wendy Gonzalez, CEO at Sama. “By finalizing this study, we can point to the indisputable facts and demonstrate the value of our impact-model on communities globally.” 

The study took place from 2017 to 2020 and evaluated how training alone or training and an opportunity to work for Sama impacted factors such as employment rates, average earnings, and well-being for individuals from low-income and marginalized backgrounds in Nairobi, Kenya. Individuals that participated in the study were split into three groups, a Control Group that received neither training nor employment at Sama, Group 1, which only received training, and Group 2, which received training and the opportunity to work at Sama.

After three years of surveying individuals from these three groups, the results clearly demonstrated that individuals that received both training and inclusion in Sama's hiring pool exhibited lower unemployment rates and higher average monthly earnings in comparison to individuals in Group 1 and the control group. Furthermore, the impact of training and employment at Sama was even more significant for women, demonstrating: 

  • 270% increase in women's monthly earnings after joining Sama

  • 60% higher earnings for women in Group 2 compared to the control group

  • 40% higher wages for people who were trained and had an opportunity to work at Sama in comparison to the control group 

With the completion of its RCT study, Sama is not only validating the positive impact it has on underserved communities but also demonstrating its long-term commitment to transparency and an ethical AI supply chain, as several technology players continue to utilize unethical training data and exploitative labor practices to power their AI and ML algorithms. 

“Sama is the leader in a movement toward ethical practices within the AI industry, a mission that is much needed and long overdue,” said David Atkin, Lead Researcher at MIT. “It was refreshing to see that there are actually businesses committed to solving global issues and proving how they are doing so.” 

The completion of its RCT study is Sama's second major initiative that demonstrates its long-term commitment to impact in under a year. Also, in September 2020, Sama announced that it became one of the few AI companies to become a Certified B Corporation, joining thousands of other major companies committed to long-term environmental and social stewardship. This is in addition to several other recent company recognitions, including Sama's inclusion on the Forbes AI 50 and Fast Company's World Changing Ideas lists.  

For more information on Sama's RCT study, check out the full report here.

About Sama

Sama provides high quality training data to power AI technology. The company's high-quality training data platform is trusted by the world's most ambitious organizations to develop accurate machine learning models. Trusted by leading technology companies such as Google, NVIDIA, GM, and Walmart, Sama specializes in image, video, language, and sensor data annotation and validation for machine learning algorithms in industries including manufacturing and robotics, bio and medtech, autonomous vehicles, entertainment, e-commerce, retail, and agriculture. For more information, visit

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