AI Trainers: Assisting Artificial Intelligences

Your new job is waiting! You could be an AI trainer, an intent analyst - a robot's assistant.

Whatever you call these brave new workers – AI trainers, intent analysts – they serve a dual purpose. For now, they function as the AI’s backup, filling in gaps when automation encounters a problem it can’t yet handle. But they are also there to teach the AI not to make those mistakes again. Each individual coached decision will aggregate into a massive library of training data, which the system’s machine learning algorithms can draw on to handle future, unfamiliar tasks.

As more data is collected and M’s algorithms improve, it’s likely that at least some tasks will become totally automated. Will that leave the human trainers out of a job?

Alex Lebrun, who is in charge of M at Facebook, says it’s not that simple. “We will always need the trainers,” he says. “Once we learn something, there is something else more complex, it’s like a threshold that is expanding. The more we learn, the more there is to learn. It is never-ending learning.”

Thankfully, science fiction writers have been trying to ease us into this future. In his 1995 novel The Calcutta Chromosome, Amitav Ghosh writes about Anton, whose day job is to train an artificial intelligence system called Ava, which bombarded him with questions about pictures of common household objects:

She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew about whatever it was that she was playing with on her screen… Once she'd wrung the last meaningless detail out of him, she'd give the object on her screen a final spin, with a bizarrely human smugness, before propelling it into horizonless limbo of her memory.
(Read more about Ava the AI)

An older generation of sf fans might also recall the vision of the future described in The Velvet Glove, a 1956 short story by Harry Harrison. One of the few jobs still available to humans is that of helper - someone who assists robots in identifying unclassifiable objects:

"... whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window. You give it a good look, check the list for the proper category if you're not sure, then press the right button and in she goes." An hour passed before he had his first identification to make. A robot stopped in mid-dump, ground its gears a moment, and then dropped a dead cat into Carl's hopper... Something heavy had dropped on the cat, reducing the lower part of its body to paper-thinness.

Castings... Cast Iron... Cats... There was the bin number. Nine.
(Read more about human object recognition)

Via New Scientist.

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