Jan 18

Image: Charles Deluvio via Unsplash

NASDAQ-listed tech giant Yandex, which includes over 90 mobile apps, services and products, is launching the world’s first online course to address the growing need for data labelling, as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) accelerates.

The course, titled Practical Crowdsourcing for Efficient Machine Learning, is available free of charge on the Coursera platform from March 15. The course takes a hands-on approach and will be taught by professionals from Swiss-incorporated Toloka, a successful crowdsourcing data-labelling platform. Toloka will present real-life case studies on labelling and processing data, enabling students to master crowdsourcing concepts and launch their own data-labelling projects during the five-week course.

The market for third-party data labelling is forecast to surpass $1 billion by 2023 from just $150 million in 2018, according to Cognilytica research company, as the use of AI becomes more commonplace. The advancement of AI still relies on human intelligence because preparing data for AI and machine learning (ML) requires people to label the data. Much of this preparation consists of some form of data labeling and usually involves text or image classification or checking audio transcriptions.

“Mastering crowdsourcing technologies can give individuals and businesses the competitive edge they need, as the pandemic accelerates digital adoption and fuels demand for tech talent,’’ said Olga Megorskaya, founder and CEO of Toloka. “I’m proud to be involved in this course and to lend my experience in the field of data labelling to help others understand it better. This new course will enable students to apply the theory they learn to real-life ML tasks and projects. Anyone can enroll free of charge, irrespective of location.’’

Crowdsourcing is already used by cutting-edge tech companies and R&D powerhouses around the world, including NASA. A class on crowdsourcing is included in the Social Computing curriculum at Stanford University. Yandex also teaches courses on the topic at the Higher School of Economics and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, two of Russia’s leading research universities.

Now, the complete Practical Crowdsourcing for Efficient Machine Learning course is also available on Coursera to anyone with access to the internet.

Interest in edtech surged last year, as the pandemic forced many schools, universities, and other places of learning to go online in 2020. The Mountain View, California-based Coursera benefitted from the growth of remote learning, reporting a 353% increase in new users and a 444% increase in course enrolments last year, compared with the previous year.

Coursera claims that over 200 universities and businesses use its online education platform, which offers flexible e-learning opportunities. So far, the platform, which is preparing for an IPO, has amassed more than 75 million learners.

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