ESPgame and image labeling

Luis von Ahn has been running the espgame for awhile now. The espgame provides a picture to two randomly paired people across the web, and asks them to agree on a label. It hasn’t managed to label the web yet, but it has produced a large dataset of (image, label) pairs. I organized the dataset so you could explore the implied bipartite graph (requires much bandwidth).

Relative to other image datasets, this one is quite large—67000 images, 358,000 labels (average of 5/image with variation from 1 to 19), and 22,000 unique labels (one every 3 images). The dataset is also very ‘natural’, consisting of images spidered from the internet. The multiple label characteristic is intriguing because ‘learning to learn’ and metalearning techniques may be applicable. The ‘natural’ quality means that this dataset varies greatly in difficulty from easy (predicting “red”) to hard (predicting “funny”) and potentially more rewarding to tackle.

The open problem here is, of course, to make an internet image labeling program. At a minimum this might be useful for blind people and image search. Solving this problem well seems likely to require new learning methods.

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