Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Sept 29–Oct 1, 2015 • New York, NY

Minds and machines: Humans where they're best, robots for the rest

Adam Marcus (B12)
2:30pm–3:00pm Tuesday, 09/29/2015
Hardcore Data Science
Location: 1 E10/1 E11 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 6 ratings)

In this talk, we’ll walk you through the world of human-in-the-loop computing, which brings together the worlds of crowdsourcing and machine learning. We’ll explore active learning, in which we identify small questions we can ask the crowd (e.g., workers on CrowdFlower or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk) in order to improve the accuracy of machine-powered classifiers. Classifiers are just the beginning of the story: human-in-the-loop computing enables us to move up the knowledge work stack to interesting problems like design and analysis.

Using real examples from the world of design, we’ll combine creative and analytical experts (e.g., independent freelancers or workers on Upwork) with machine learning algorithms to deliver professional services with unprecedented scale and efficiency. Finally, we’ll discuss systems that we’re open sourcing to make high-level human/machine workflows easier to build, and show you examples of these tools in action.

Photo of Adam Marcus

Adam Marcus


Adam Marcus is a cofounder and CTO of B12, a company building a better future of creative and analytical work, starting with design. With Orchestra, its open source project management system for experts and machines, B12 automatically generates websites for clients (algorithmic design) and then recruits wonderful designers and art directors to fill in the details from the algorithmically generated starting points. (This summer, B12 announced the close of a $12.4M Series A funding round.) Previously, Adam was director of data at Locu, a startup that was acquired by GoDaddy. He has written widely on crowdsourcing and data management and processing, including coauthoring a book, Crowdsourced Data Management: Industry and Academic Perspectives. He is a recipient of the NSF and NDSEG fellowships and has worked at ITA, Google, IBM, and FactSet. Adam holds a PhD in computer science from MIT, where he researched database systems and human computation. In his free time, he builds course content to get people excited about data and programming.