Interview: How Ethical Human-in-the-Loop Workforce Solutions Can Power the AI Industry

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Ethical Human-in-the-Loop Workforce Solutions Can Power the AI IndustryArtificial intelligence and computer vision are generally not phrases you hear in connection with refugees and humanitarian aid.

I was pleased to meet Iva Gumnishka, the founder and CEO of Humans in the Loop, and hear how she has connected these phrases to help companies and vulnerable communities.

Iva is a recent winner of the Rising Innovators Award from the European Innovation Council (EIC). She used her background in human rights combined with an entrepreneurial spirit to create an award-winning social enterprise with a vision to "help conflict-affected people build resilience and self-sufficiency through remote work and digital skills."

That means providing ongoing work opportunities as an alternative to humanitarian aid.

Humans in the Loop provides ethical human-in-the-loop workforce solutions to power the AI industry.

Iva explains, "The name, Humans in the Loop, is actually a technical term which denotes the human working with the machine to train machine learning algorithms. For us, it means much more. It has this social element of human integration into society."

She continues, "My goal was to identify easy and accessible job opportunities that refugees and other crisis-impacted people could do online. In 2017 we came across this business model that has allowed us to build a community and give people lasting skills wherever they are. It has been more successful than I imagined. Most of our projects are going to Syria and Iraq and some to Afghanistan and Lebanon. Looking at the numbers, we've impacted almost 1,000 people through training and paid work. Our biggest challenge now is finding more projects to keep more workers busy."

What types of services are offered?

Humans in the Loop offers everything computer vision related. They can collect data, annotate data and images, and validate model outputs and provide live monitoring. Anything from bounding box annotation, to polygonkeypointvideo, 3-dimensional and semantic segmentation.

In this video, Tess Valbuena, Chief Operations Officer at Humans in the Loop, explains their services in more detail.

Who uses these types of services?

Humans in the Loop can help companies that use artificial intelligence specifically for computer vision. For example, medical images, robotics, and driving cars. They have assisted companies in various industries including automotive, medical, manufacturing, agriculture and retail.

Another use is Document processing. If a company uses some type of AI system for document processing, it very likely requires some manual input to do the capture style, such as labeling of the documents. In the Microsoft Dynamics world, this could relate to AP automation, invoice processing, or other document processing.

How it Works

What is the social impact?

Humans in the Loop currently has a core team of 14, mainly based in Bulgaria, plus annotators in Ukraine, Turkey, Portugal, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen and Bulgaria.

Iva says, "The impact this is having on people's lives can be difficult to fathom because it's happening online, to people far away. Here in Bulgaria, we have people that have been working with us for several years. I can see the impact it has had on their families and their standard of living. It's really, really great."

However, most clients do not hire Humans in the Loop because of the social impact. Instead, the company focuses on its high quality standards. The team works hard to upskill their workers and equip them with transferable skills. Therefore, the quality of the data is significantly higher than that of crowdsourcing platforms. Quality is the most significant selling point.

Success Stories

If you want to know more about AI and how humans are involved watch Iva’s TedTalk “AI Isn’t as Artificial as You Think | Iva Gumnishka | TEDxAUBG

What are the future plans for Humans in the Loop?

Right now, the company is investing additional resources into real-time monitoring of AI systems.

For example, instead of just annotating images, a company already has Humans in the Loop will be able to verify images in real-time. That could be used for alert handling or an edge key that has come up or other scenarios.

Iva concluded, "Ideally, we want to become the biggest provider of human input for AI systems. The company that you go to for any type of human input needed for training, validating and monitoring your AI system. The vision is to grow our global community of workers from different vulnerable groups."

Is this a service you can use? Choosing an impact sourcing and data labeling provider like Humans in the Loop is a great way to create a social impact while obtaining high quality work and high quality data. Book a call.

Do you know someone else who would like to hear this story? Spread the word about Humans in the Loop.

By Anya Ciecierksi, ERP Software Blog Editor,

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