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What is Data Labeling and how does it work?

  • Hrithik Saini
  • Dec 30, 2021
What is Data Labeling and how does it work? title banner

The wealth of the coming decades is data. Since technology and AI progressively infiltrate our daily lives, data and its right usage have the potential to have a tremendous influence on modern society. 

 

Annotated data may be used efficiently by ML algorithms to discover issues and provide practical solutions, making data annotation an essential component of this transition.

 

 

What is Data labeling?

 

Data labeling is the technique in machine learning of recognizing raw data (pictures, text files, videos, etc.) and appending one or more relevant and useful labeling to provide context so that a learning algorithm may learn from it. 

 

Labels, for example, might identify whether a photograph has a bird or an automobile, which words were said in an audiobook, or whether an x-ray shows a tumor. Data labeling is necessary for many applications, including computer vision, computational linguistics, and speech recognition.

 

(Speaking of Audiobook, check out how AI is used in the Audiobook Industry)

 

Process of Data labeling

 

Many effective machine learning models nowadays use a classification algorithm, which uses an algorithm to translate one input into one response. To make supervised learning work, you must have a labeled collection of data from which the model can learn to make the right judgments. 

 

Typically, data labeling begins to ask humans to make judgements on a specific piece of unlabeled data. Labelers, for example, may be requested to tag all photos in a dataset when the question "does the image include a bird?" is true.

 

(Also read - Best Data-Driven Companies)

 

Tagging can be as basic as a yes/no question or as detailed as identifying the particular pixels in the image linked with the bird. In a process known as "model training," the machine learning model learns the underlying patterns by using human-provided labels. As a consequence, a trained model is created that may be used to make hypotheses on fresh data.

 

 

Labeled Data Vs Unlabeled Data

 

To train Ml techniques, computers need both labeled and unlabeled data, but what is the difference?

 

  • In supervised learning, labeled data is utilized, whereas unlabeled data is used in unsupervised learning.

 

  • Labeled data is more difficult to obtain and store (i.e. more time consuming and costly), but unlabeled data is simpler to acquire and keep.

 

  • Labeled data may be utilized to provide actionable insights (for example, predicting activities), but unlabeled data is less valuable. Unsupervised learning methods can aid in the discovery of new data clusters, allowing for new categorizations when labeling.

 

Combining data may also be used by computers for semi-supervised learning, which eliminates the requirement for manually labeled data while offering a huge annotated dataset.


(Related blog - Data Extraction Tools)

 

 

Data Labeling: Best Practices

 

There are several methods for increasing the efficiency and reliability of data labeling. Among these techniques are:

 

  1. Intuitive and simplified task layouts that help human labellers reduce cognitive burden and context switching.

 

  1. Individual annotators' errors/biases can be mitigated through labeller consensus. Labeller consensus entails sending each database object to many annotators and then combining their replies (referred to as "annotations") into a single label.

 

  1. Label auditing is used to determine the integrity of labels and to modify them as needed.

 

  1. Active learning is used to increase the efficiency of data labeling by employing machine learning to determine the most useful data to be classified by humans.

 

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Methods for Data labeling

 

Data labeling is an important stage in the development of a high-performance ML model. Labeling may look straightforward, but it is not always easy to apply. As a result, businesses must evaluate a variety of elements and procedures in order to identify the optimal strategy for Labeling. 

 

Because each data labeling approach has advantages and disadvantages, a thorough assessment of work difficulty, as well as the project's size, scope, and length, is recommended. Here are a few approaches to categorizing your data:

 

  1. Internal labeling

 

Using in-house big data professionals simplifies tracking, improves accuracy, and boosts quality. This technique, however, often takes more time and benefits huge corporations with significant resources.

 

  1. Synthetic Labeling

 

This method produces new project information from existing databases, which improves the data quality and saves time. However, synthetic labeling necessitates a large amount of computational power, which might raise prices.

 

  1. Programmatic labeling

 

This automated data labeling approach use scripts to save time and eliminate the need for human annotation. However, due to the likelihood of technological issues, HITL must remain a component of the quality assurance (QA) process.

 

  1. Outsourcing

 

While this is an excellent option for high-level temporary tasks, building and sustaining a freelance-oriented workflow may be time-consuming. While freelancing platforms give extensive applicant information to help with vetting, employing managed data labeling teams delivers pre-vetted people and pre-built data labeling technologies.

 

  1. Crowdsourcing

 

Because of its micro-tasking capabilities and web-based dissemination, this strategy is both faster and less expensive. However, labour quality, quality assurance, and project management differ amongst crowdsourcing platforms. Recaptcha is a well-known example of crowdsourcing data labeling. This research was two-fold in that it looked for bots while also increasing picture data annotation.

 

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Data labeling

 

The fundamental tradeoff of data labeling is that, while it can reduce a company's time to scale, it comes at a cost. More precise data often improves model predictions, thus the value it gives is usually well worth the investment, despite its high cost. 

 

Data annotation improves the efficiency of exploratory data analysis along with machine learning (ML) & AI applications because it adds context to information. 

 

Data labeling, for example, results in more relevant searches across web search networks and better product choices across e-commerce marketplaces. Let's take a closer look at some of the other significant advantages and disadvantages:

 

Advantages

 

  1. More Accurate Predictions: Accurate data labeling improves quality assurance inside machine learning techniques, enabling the network to train and provide the desired output. 

 

Otherwise, "trash in, garbage out," as the old adage goes. Data that has been properly labeled serves as the "ground truth" for testing and iterating future models.

 

  1. Data labeling May Increase Data Usability: Data labeling can also improve the usability of data variables inside a model. For example, to make a category variable more digestible for a model, you may reclassify it as a binary variable. 

 

Data aggregation in this manner can optimise the model by lowering the number of model parameters or allowing the addition of control variables. Using high-quality data to develop machine learning models or NLP models is a major priority.

 

(Do check - Top 6 Data Analysis Techniques)

 

Disadvantages

 

  1. Expensive & Time-Consuming: While data labeling is essential for machine learning methods, it may be expensive in terms of both resources and time. 

 

Even if a company chooses a more adaptive method, technical teams will still need to build up data pipelines methods for data processing, and human labeling is nearly always costly and time-consuming.

 

  1. Human-Error Prone: These labeling procedures are also susceptible to human error (e.g., coding mistakes, manual entry errors), which can reduce data quality. As a result, data processing and modelling become erroneous. Quality assurance tests are critical for ensuring data quality.

 

 

Use Cases for Data Labeling

 

Though data labeling may improve accuracy, quality, and usefulness in a variety of situations across sectors, the following are some of its more recognised applications:

 

Computer Vision

 

It is a branch of AI that uses training data to create a computer vision model that enables picture segmentation and categorization automation, recognises key features in an image, and determines the position of objects. 

 

In fact, IBM provides the Maximo Visual Inspection computer vision platform, which allows subject matter experts (SMEs) to label and train machine learning factors associated that can be implemented in the cloud, edge devices, and local data centres. 

 

Computer vision is employed in a variety of industries, including energy and utilities, industrial, and automotive. This burgeoning area is predicted to reach a valuation of $48.6 billion by 2022.

 

 

Natural language processing (NLP)

 

A division of AI that integrates computational linguistics with numerical, deep learning, and deep neural networks to identify and tag valuable sections of text which generate classification models for sentiment analysis, object brand reputation, and optical character recognition. 

 

NLP is rapidly being utilized in workplace solutions such as spam detection, translation software, speaker identification, text categorization, virtual assistants and chatbots, and voice-operated GPS systems. As a result, NLP has become a vital component in the advancement of mission-critical business operations.

 

(Must read - How Big Data Analytics Using AI?)

 

 

Audio Processing

 

Audio processing translates various types of sounds, including speech, wildlife noises (barks, whistles, or chirps), and construction sounds (broken glass, scanning, or sirens), into a structured format that may be utilised in machine learning. 

 

Audio processing frequently necessitates manually transcribing it into written language. Then, by adding tags and classifying the audio, you may glean more information about it. This classified audio will serve as your training dataset.

 

 

How can data labeling be done in an effective manner?

 

Large amounts of high-quality training data are used to build successful machine learning algorithms. However, the process of generating the training data required to generate these models is sometimes costly, sophisticated, and time-consuming. 

 

The bulk of today's models requires an individual to manually categorise data in order for the model to understand how to create proper conclusions. To address this issue, labeling may be done more efficiently by automatically classifying data with a machine learning model.

 

A machine learning technique for labeling data is initially trained on a portion of your actual data that has been tagged by humans in this procedure. Where the labeling model has great confidence in its conclusions based on what others have learnt thus far, it will assign labels to the raw data automatically. 

 

Where the labeling model has a lesser level of confidence in its outputs, it will transfer the data to humans for labeling. The human-generated tags are then sent back into the labeling model so that it may learn from them and increase its ability to identify the next set of raw data autonomously. 

 

Over time, the model will be able to classify greater and greater data automatically, significantly speeding up the compilation of training datasets.

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