Kenyans from "the toughest neighborhood on earth" trace pixels all day to train autonomous vehicles


Originally published at:


“What did you do in the Killer Car Wars, Dad?”

“I provided targeting data for our Automotive Overlords.”


Second largest.


But is it still the “Toughest”? Will this be the subject of a new Ross Kemp TV Show; “World’s Toughest Slums”, or maybe a new mass combat oriented pay-per-view melee show; “When Slums Attack”?


Kenya is a rich country with many natural resources that has struggled with the legacy of colonialism: much of the wealth of the former colonizers can be traced to extraction from Kenya, and today, those colonizing powers turn a blind eye to the laundering of the billions extracted from the region by corrupt officials and businesspeople.

Kenyan was a UK colony between 1895 and 1963 - 68 years. It has now been independent for 55 years. There really has to come a time at some point where the failures of development and to tackle corruption in countries like Kenya are laid at the door of the local politicians, who at times seem all to keen to use the legacy of colonialism as a catch-all excuse for their own actions.


Corrupt local politicians are indeed a integral part of the problem, often backed by the international organizations and systems that are the ongoing legacy of colonialism. The exploitation never really stopped, the colonizers and their paymasters merely realized they could externalize the political costs, just as they have in their home countries at the expense of the working classes and the poor.


I have a question for you, who benefits by reclassifying Kibera as much smaller than it had been previously estimated? And really, how can you trust something that gives numbers that are literally a tenth of what the previous estimates were? Also, that census determines the size of the constituencies, which I’m sure there’s no advantage to the corrupt politicians in charge to falsify to stay in power.


At least “move fast and break things” is falling out of fashion :roll_eyes:


Samasource is an example of a single firm that is making a large, positive difference in the lives of the people who work for it – but it is able to do so because it is making a much larger positive benefit to the bottom line of the most profitable corporations on earth.

This describes every job on the planet. If you don’t create a larger positive benefit to the bottom line than the company pays you… You should probably start looking for a new job, because that one isn’t going to last…


Indeed, Post-Colonialism is the gift that keeps on giving. All the machinery is in place to keep sucking the life out of the parasitized nation at minimum effort for the former overlords.


More problematic is that Kibera’s residents are unlikely to benefit from self-driving cars at any time in the foreseeable future

I don’t see the relevance of this. I agree that ergonomics and breaks are vitally important and need to be addressed, but if a company provides a good working environment, treats the workers with respect, and pays a good living wage it doesn’t seem important that the service they’re providing is used by the local citizenry. We’re not even talking about depleting a natural resource.


The local politicians are often dynastic descendents of the indigenous clans favoured by the former colonial masters, and often continue to be paid by the same overlords in the form of bribes from multi-national corporations. It takes more than a few generations, usually accompanied by revolutionary measures, to wash that out.


Expect these types of stories to become more common. China is investing billions in Africa right now, including opening up factories and the like. They see it not just as untapped labor potential, but a huge untapped customer base. They are also investing in the crumbling Eastern Europe, which the west has largely treated as the Wild West and avoided.


The local politicians are often dynastic descendents of the indigenous clans favoured by the former colonial masters, and often continue to be paid by the same overlords in the form of bribes from multi-national corporations.

Really? Jomo Kenyatta was one of the leading anti-colonialists and African nationalists of his time, and Daniel arap Moi was (per wiki) from the minority Moi tribe. Both suppressed other parties and used nepotism to maintain their positions. I’d be interested to read more about any links either had to multi-national corporations…


Even in countries like Sweden that were never colonized and have good governance specifically aimed at reducing inequality, the effects of historical inequality are still observable after three centuries.

So yes, there does have to come such a time. That time is at least as far in the future as the time when Star Trek: TOS is set.

Blame comes in many forms. Are former colonizing countries the proximate cause of any specific problem? Generally not after a relatively short time. Are the effects of colonization still ubiquitous, however subtle? Most likely, yes, and for a much longer time than almost anyone is willing to admit.


Really. I was discussing post-colonial situations in general. In that regard, minority tribes are also often elevated to power and favour over majority ones by colonial masters, causing a lot of headaches later on.

I don’t know if this was the exactly the case in Kenya (the Brits seemed to have favoured the Masai over the majority Agikuyu, but I’m sure the situation is more complex). That said, the fact that clans have the same political power they do post-colonialism at all indicates that, in bringing certain gifts of good governance to their colonies, the British neglected to turn tribe members into equal citizens of the nation.

As for corruption quick look at Kenyan situation reveals something called the Anglo-Leasing scandal, which involved British companies profiting. According to the Wiki:

In January 2006, the Anglo-Leasing Scandal was given fresh impetus through the publication of John Githongo’s report. The new revelations indicate that Anglo Leasing Finance was just one of a plethora of phantom entities, including some UK companies, used to perpetrate fraud on the Kenyan taxpayer through non-delivery of goods and services and massive overpricing.

So the old colonial masters were taking their cut. Same with the white elephant Turkwel Dam (this time a French firm that had British shareholders via Barclays). Even in the largest and most homegrown scandal, Goldenberg was not only illegally importing gold from Congo but also supposedly exporting it abroad to a Wilmington, DE based corporation.

My point is not to excuse home-grown corruption. It is that the legacy of colonial exploitation and the participation of colonial masters in squeezing the locals can take generations to vanish, especially when those former colonial masters are continuing to participate in the scams.


The Anglo-leasing scandal where the British High Commissioner blew the whistle?


Yes, that’s the one. It doesn’t change the fact that British multi-nationals profited.


True. Need to find better sources.


Colonialism did not end in 1963.