India is fast emerging as the hub of high-quality data labeling for the world’s most advanced algorithms and iMerit is a part of this rocket-ship. In a recent article in Factor Daily, journalist Anand Murali explores the growth of India’s small towns as hubs of data annotation excellence.
Some excerpts from the article:
With global enterprise giants embracing AI, and the datasets that feed the AI algorithms increasingly becoming proprietary, companies need a higher degree of engagement with data labelling teams in terms of requirements, quality control, feedback, and deliverables. Because of the business process outsourcing boom around the turn of the century, Indians are no strangers to such jargon and demands. Data annotation and labelling, too, is process-driven, requiring precision work and skills that even people with a high-school education can be trained on.
iMerit’s strategy is centered on its employees. About 80% of its 2,000-strong workforce come from families with incomes less than $100 (Rs 7,000) a month; about half of them are women. “We have a social mission to create technology employment among underprivileged communities and in territories where there are fewer companies or industry. We operate in cities slightly lesser known for tech and with less technology employment available,” says Jai Natarajan, vice president of technology and marketing at iMerit.
Companies are beginning to develop automated tools for annotation but with a lot of jobs requiring nuanced and custom annotation or labelling work, it would be some time before automated tools can achieve a high level of accuracy.
Natarajan says that unlike five years ago when AI was about differentiating cat from a dog, present-day AI handles more advanced work. “Machine-learning has moved forward, so nobody is asking us to mark for a dog versus cat. Those days are long gone. Today, every company has customized needs and very nuanced requirements, so it is not possible to automate this or automatically just throw the data and get it labelled by an anonymous set of people.”
Read the full article here: How India’s data labellers are powering the global AI race