AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Decision-Theoretic Control of Crowd-Sourced Workflows
Peng Dai, ' Mausam, Daniel Sabey Weld

Last modified: 2010-07-04

Abstract


Crowd-sourcing is a recent framework in which human intelligence tasks are outsourced to a crowd of unknown people ("workers") as an open call (e.g., on Amazon's Mechanical Turk). Crowd-sourcing has become immensely popular with hoards of employers ("requesters"), who use it to solve a wide variety of jobs, such as dictation transcription, content screening, etc. In order to achieve quality results, requesters often subdivide a large task into a chain of bite-sized subtasks that are combined into a complex, iterative workflow in which workers check and improve each other's results. This paper raises an exciting question for AI — could an autonomous agent control these workflows without human intervention, yielding better results than today's state of the art, a fixed control program? We describe a planner, TurKontrol, that formulates workflow control as a decision-theoretic optimization problem, trading off the implicit quality of a solution artifact against the cost for workers to achieve it. We lay the mathematical framework to govern the various decisions at each point in a popular class of workflows. Based on our analysis we implement the workflow control algorithm and present experiments demonstrating that TurKontrol obtains much higher utilities than popular fixed policies.

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