Behind every self-driving car or cashier-less Amazon Go convenience store sit thousands of humans whose job it is to train computers to see. These people look at pictures and identify what’s in the footage, labeling something as a truck or a bag of Doritos. Their observations are fed back into artificial intelligence software that then learns how to do the same thing over time. It’s the drudgery behind the magic.
A three-year-old startup called Scale AI Inc. has been trying to improve this process on behalf of both man and machine. It’s built a set of software tools that take a first pass at marking up pictures before handing them off to a network of some 30,000 contract workers, who then perform the finishing touches. Scale has attracted big-name customers in the self-driving car field, including Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, General Motors Co.’s Cruise, and Uber Technologies Inc.
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