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"[Science fiction] is the only kind of writing that allows you to look at the world we live in and change one piece at a time."
- Frederik Pohl

Human Object Recognition  
  System uses human beings as an aid to robotic object recognition.  

What do robots do when they can't identify objects for themselves?

"...They're just plain lifting robots and not too brainy, but good enough to recognize most things they pick up. But not all the time."

"... 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.

From The Velvet Glove, by Harry Harrison.
Published by Fantastic Universe in 1956
Additional resources -

There have been several recent instances in which people have been called upon to make up for the optical recognition features of computers. See the article for Amazon Mechanical Turk. See also a reference from a 1995 novel The Calcutta Chromosome, by Amitav Ghosh. He writes about an artificial intelligence named Ava who needs help constantly.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Velvet Glove
  More Ideas and Technology by Harry Harrison
  Tech news articles related to The Velvet Glove
  Tech news articles related to works by Harry Harrison

Human Object Recognition-related news articles:
  - Humans! Tutor Computers And Robots In Your Spare Time
  - reCAPTCHA Old Manuscripts Now!
  - DESIRE Trash-Tossing Robot
  - Robot Sorts Plastic Recyclables With Laser
  - Computers Need Your Help In Image Recognition
  - ZenRobotics Sorts Trash With Artificial Intelligence
  - Robots Implore Humans For Help Online
  - CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
  - Humans Help Robots Identify Recyclables
  - DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
  - Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
Robot Teaches Itself To Walk
AI Musicians Reach For The Top Of The Charts
Neural Net Discovers Antibiotic
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts

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