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Skierarchy: Extending the Power of Crowdsourcing Using a Hierarchy of Domain Experts, Crowd and Machine Learning

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Conference paper

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In the last few years, crowdsourcing has emerged as an effective solution for large-scale micro-tasks. Usually, the micro-tasks that are accomplished using crowdsourcing tend to be those that computers cannot solve very effectively, but are fairly trivial for humans with no specialized training. In this work, we aim to extend the capability of crowdsourcing to tasks that are complex even from a human perspective. Towards this objective, we present a novel hierarchical approach involving a small number of domain experts at the top of the hierarchy, a large crowd with generic skills at the intermediate level, and a Machine Learning system serving as a personal assistant to the crowd, at the bottom level. We call this approach Skierarchy, short for Hierarchy of Skills. To test the efficacy of the Skierarchy approach, we deployed the model on the TREC 2012 TRAT task, a task we believe is fairly complex compared to typical micro-tasks. In this paper, we present illustrative experiments to demonstrate the utility of each of the layers of our hierarchy. Our experiments on TRAT as well as IRAT show that using an interactive process between the experts and the crowd could significantly reduce the need for redundancy among the crowd, while also enabling a crowd with generic skills to perform tasks that are reserved for specialists. Further, we found from our TRAT experience that both the crowd and the Machine Learning system improve their performance over time as they gain experience on specialized tasks.

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  • Information Science
  • Cybernetics

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