Image courtesy of Markus Spiske

Mighty AI enlists the crowd to teach Watson golf

Startup crowdsources domain expertise for chatbot development

Cognitive systems differ from previous computers in that they are taught rather than programmed. So the same Watson that won Jeopardy! can help oncology doctors as long as long as its trained on the domain of cancer research rather than Wikipedia documents.

So now what you need to get your AI system up to speed are trainers rather than developers. But how can you quickly train an AI system? Startup Mighty AI uses an innovative crowdsourced approach. The company (recently renamed from Spare5) gathers information from humans, namely subject matter experts who are willing to answer questions about a certain topic. And they get paid for it. Examples include finding golf aficionados for IBM, people who can describe photos for Getty images, and radiologists or technicians to read tumor scans.

“There’s an arms race in training data” for AI, according to Mighty AI Chief Executive Officer Matt Bencke.

As noted in a Bloomberg article, IBM Watson wanted to create a chatbot for spectators to use at the 2016 Masters golf tournament. Golf fans used on-site tablets or their own smartphones to ask the bot questions or chat with it. The only problem? IBM couldn’t find enough golf-related training data.

IBM sent Mighty AI volumes of information obtained from the web related to golf. Using this data, Mighty AI found workers familiar with the game, had them tag information unique to the sport and compose questions and answers based on the material. That data became the basis of IBM Watson’s golf conversational agent.

VentureBeat points out that the idea of a self-learning AI system is still largely the realm of science fiction:

‘While AI systems are becoming more intelligent and “aware,” they’re not quite at the stage of being able to teach themselves — there are things that only humans are able to decipher and detect.’

It’s not just golf where Mighty AI can prove its worth. There are opportunities to “democratize coaching” outside of just sports, such as inindustries like retail, healthcare, and life sciences. Like other ‘sharing economy’ platforms, the startup uses ratings and measurement systems to keep track of quality and incentivize contributions. Bloomberg states:

“Mighty AI has more than 100,000 specialists in 155 countries and it rates how they handle tasks. If the person does well, he or she gets paid more and gets offered more jobs. A poor job will generate feedback and eventually lead to termination if the person doesn’t improve.”

Visit the Mighty AI website to learn more about their crowdsourced AI-training platform and read the Bloomberg article.