How Human-in-the-Loop Machine Learning Works—and Why It is Important

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As most machine learning models rely on data prepared by humans, the synergy between humans and machines keeps growing. Further, the most robust systems are designed to let both sides interact constantly; made possible through human-in-the-loop (HITL) machine learning.

In this guide, know:

  • How HITL works;
  • Its importance and benefits;
  • When to use it; and
  • How you can hire experts to take care of your data needs.

Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) Machine Learning

As a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), HITL uses human and machine intelligence to create ML models. Often, people are involved in the AI pipeline where they train, tune, and test AI models constantly. The purpose of this is to build models with higher accuracy more quickly and smoothly.

human hand and robot hand with network connection lines on black screen background

Common Human-in-the-Loop Process

HITL, at its best, aims to improve models and systems through human guidance and input to build better and more precise AI structures. Roughly, HITL works like this:

Humans label data.

This step aims to give high-quality training data to a model. Through data annotation, humans label data then give it to the machine-learning system to learn from and make judgments from such forecasts.

Related Article: Data Annotation Tools: What You Need to Know Before Choosing One

Humans tune the model.

Done in various ways, this step lets humans score data to account for errors, to teach a classifier on edge cases, or new groups in the model’s scope.

Humans test and confirm.

These can be through scoring the model’s outputs, with focus on areas where a model is unsure about a judgment or highly confident about a wrong choice.

Present in each action involved in HITL is a stable feedback loop. HITL requires taking each of the training, tuning, and testing tasks and feeding them back into the system so that it gets smarter, leading to more valid outputs and improved precision.

Value of Human-in-the-Loop ML

Apart from letting users change the outcome of an event or process, HITL is highly useful for training goals since it lets trainees to immerse in the process. Thus, adding to a worthwhile transfer of acquired skills into the real world.

Further, heed these 6 reasons HITL is crucial.

1. Address AI’s Limits

The next wave of automation will see tasks within jobs being split between humans and AI. Models have lacking to no data usable, thus needing humans to make apt judgments.

2. Democratize AI

Knowledge of AI has been reachable to small groups of data scientists for decades. HITL helps in making the benefits of having such knowledge open to skilled workers in various jobs and fields.

3. Humans Know Ethics

Having knowledge of ethics and how they apply to our work set us apart from AI systems. Humans play a key role in the process since we can keep an eye out for likely data bias and rarities.

4. Humans See the Bigger Picture

Our skills such as problem solving and communication let us become the project managers that AI systems can’t be. Also, AI can’t run things smoothly on its own.

5. Enhance the Accuracy of Rare Data Sets

As common ML models need a large number of labeled data points to bring valid results, cases when there is a lack of data lead to ML models becoming useless. HITL ensures there’s ample data when an ML system can’t find key cases to learn from.

6. Improve Safety and Precision

AI aims to bring human-level precision. Though machine learning can be vital in inspections, having the system observed by humans is still the best practice.

human hand and robot hand with binary number code and light on blue screen background

Benefits of Human-in-the-Loop

As explained by Stanford University, here are the top benefits of HITL.

1. Means Vital Gains in Transparency

Each step using human interaction needs the system design to be tailored for human knowledge to gauge what action to take next. Besides, humans and AI perform the task hand in hand, which makes it harder for the process to remain hidden.

2. Covers Human Judgment Aptly

Mostly, AI systems aren’t made to replace human efforts. Instead, they are built to help humans. The value of such systems doesn’t solely depend on efficiency or precision, but also on human preference and agency.

3. Shifts Pressure Away from Building Perfect Designs

Boosting human knowledge, judgment, and interaction in this approach frees the automated aspects of the system from “getting everything right all at once.” Since the system is built around human guidance, it only needs to make key progress to the next interaction point. Besides, it may be more helpful to do less rather than more during each step.

4. Builds More Powerful Systems

Fully automated and fully manual systems tend to perform less than those designs that have humans in the loop. Aligned with the notion that a hybrid system can do no worse than fully automated systems, the design allows the human to defer to the rest of the system whenever they may choose to do. This is as long as the right kind of human input renders the system mostly better at what it is built to do.

Simply put, the goal is achieved by finding an ideal balance for a certain case.

When to Use Human-in-the-Loop ML

To further guide you on when you should use this approach, here are some sample cases it’s time to use HITL:

  • Systems don’t understand the input.
  • Data input is viewed wrongly.
  • Systems don’t know how to perform the task.
  • The ML model needs to be more exact.
  • The cost of errors is too high in ML progress.
  • The data you’re looking for is rare or absent.

Partner with Data Experts Today

Once you’ve checked your current systems and what needs to be improved, that’s when you opt to use the HITL approach to your main efforts. The good thing is there’s a wide range of AI solutions for businesses and firms for their needs. One case in point for this is letting an expert data team help you address the gap in your ML model.

Build confidence in your systems by hiring topnotch human annotators for your HITL efforts. Check out our data annotation services and get access to superb and prompt data solutions. Our data experts have the know-how and skills you need in a team. Our pledge: your data will be safe with us. For more queries, you may contact us to get a free quote!