Actively Estimating Crowd Annotation Consensus

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The rapid growth of storage capacity and processing power has caused machine learning applications to increasingly rely on using immense amounts of labeled data. It has become more important than ever to have fast and inexpensive ways to annotate vast amounts of data. With the emergence of crowdsourcing services, the research direction has gravitated toward putting the wisdom of crowds to better use. Unfortunately, spammers and inattentive annotators pose a threat to the quality and trustworthiness of the consensus. Thus, high quality consensus estimation from crowd annotated data requires a meticulous choice of the candidate annotator and the sample in need of a new annotation. Due to time and budget limitations, it is of utmost importance that this choice is carried out while the annotation collection is in progress. We call this process active crowd-labeling. To this end, we propose an active crowd-labeling approach for actively estimating consensus from continuous-valued crowd annotations. Our method is based on annotator models with unknown parameters, and Bayesian inference is employed to reach a consensus in the form of ordinal, binary, or continuous values. We introduce ranking functions for choosing the candidate annotator and sample pair for requesting an annotation. In addition, we propose a penalizing method for preventing annotator domination, investigate the explore-exploit trade-off for incorporating new annotators into the system, and study the effects of inducing a stopping criterion based on consensus quality. We also introduce the crowd-labeled Head Pose Annotations datasets. Experimental results on the benchmark datasets used in the literature and the Head Pose Annotations datasets suggest that our method provides high-quality consensus by using as few as one fifth of the annotations (~80% cost reduction), thereby providing a budget and time-sensitive solution to the crowd-labeling problem.

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