Lean Crowdsourcing: Combining Humans and Machines in an Online System

CVPR 2017  ·  Steve Branson, Grant van Horn, Pietro Perona ·

We introduce a method to greatly reduce the amount of redundant annotations required when crowdsourcing annotations such as bounding boxes, parts, and class labels. For example, if two Mechanical Turkers happen to click on the same pixel location when annotating a part in a given image--an event that is very unlikely to occur by random chance--, it is a strong indication that the location is correct. A similar type of confidence can be obtained if a single Turker happened to agree with a computer vision estimate. We thus incrementally collect a variable number of worker annotations per image based on online estimates of confidence. This is done using a sequential estimation of risk over a probabilistic model that combines worker skill, image difficulty, and an incrementally trained computer vision model. We develop specialized models and algorithms for binary annotation, part keypoint annotation, and sets of bounding box annotations. We show that our method can reduce annotation time by a factor of 4-11 for binary filtering of websearch results, 2-4 for annotation of boxes of pedestrians in images, while in many cases also reducing annotation error. We will make an end-to-end version of our system publicly available.

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