At Duolingo, 10% of contractors refused their services, transferring their work to II
Duolingo has decided to increase the role of AI in the creation of training courses, which is why the company has abandoned the services of about 10% of its contractors. According to Mashable, this endeavor “doesn’t bode well.”
A Duolingo representative responded to Bloomberg’s inquiry and confirmed the company’s job cuts, stressing that no full-time employees were affected: “We just don’t need as many people anymore to do the work that some of these contractors were doing. Part of it can be delegated to II”.
PC Mag Australia clarified that Duolingo denied the job cuts, explaining that the contractors were simply “put out of work” after their projects were completed in late 2023. At the same time, the publication quotes one of such suspended contractors, who left a comment in the subreddit r/Duolingo: “I worked there for five years. Our team had four core members and two of us were let go. The two that are left are just checking the AI content to make sure it’s acceptable.”
Mashable recalled that Duolingo has been using machine learning for several years, and in 2020 the company introduced its artificial intelligence model Birdbrain, which allows you to adjust the difficulty of exercises based on the strengths and weaknesses of users. However, by 2023, “every exercise selected by Birdbrain has been written, proofread, edited and translated by human experts.”
Last March, the company also introduced Duolingo Max, a premium subscription to its app that gave access to new GPT-4-based tools. While only French and Spanish courses are currently supported for English-speaking users on iOS devices, Duolingo plans to expand access to more courses and platforms.
Back in June of last year, Duolingo announced that it had started using large language models to create guided exercises. “With a large language model in the hands of Duolingo teachers, we can generate a huge amount of content for our lessons with the click of a button,” the company said in a blog post at the time, emphasizing the convenience, speed and productivity teachers received with AI support.