Power of the People: Crowdsourced Data Collection for Successful AI Development

Discover the benefits, challenges, and power of crowdsourced data collection for AI advancement.

Published on August 9, 2023
Last Updated on August 9, 2023

Collecting quality data is crucial for creating strong AI models. As AI technology develops, there is an increasing demand for a vast amount of AI training data. Companies are turning to crowdsourced data at an unprecedented rate, utilizing it as a strategic solution to address these growing data requirements and take advantage of advanced data collection methods.

The global AI market is projected to be valued at over $1.5 trillion by 2030, marking an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 38.1 percent from 2022 to 2030. This rapid growth in the demand for AI has stimulated companies to tap into a global network of crowd workers. These skilled individuals help collect, annotate, and label data, allowing companies to easily train more accurate and robust AI models.

A comprehensive understanding of how to crowdsource data provides a strategic edge in today's data-driven world, and crowdsourcing data collection plays an increasingly critical role in this landscape. Let’s delve deeper into the role of crowdsourcing data in machine learning, emphasizing its integral role in the evolution of AI.

Understanding Crowdsourced Data Collection

Crowdsourced data collection allows businesses to outsource data gathering to a global group of crowd workers to advance their AI models. It addresses geographical limitations and provides a diverse, quality, and vast dataset that significantly enhances traditional data collection techniques.

Companies can launch their crowdsourcing campaigns independently or utilize established platforms that effectively source, recruit, and manage crowd workers worldwide. Understanding and effectively utilizing crowdsourced data provides a distinct advantage in the journey towards improved AI systems.

How Does Crowdsourced Data Collection Work?

Whether you're building a new AI model or refining an existing one, the effectiveness of using crowdsourced data depends on a well-planned strategy:

  • Decide on Objectives
    The first step is to decide on the objective of your crowdsourcing campaign. This includes understanding the use case for your data, defining the campaign's goal, and identifying the data quantity and format (whether image, video, text, etc.) you require for your AI model.
  • Identify Target Audience
    Identify the specific participants who can deliver on those crowdsourced data needs. Factors to consider are the overall number of participants required, their geographic location, language proficiency, demographic requirements, and the participant fee.
  • Identify Target Audience
    Identify the specific participants who can deliver on those crowdsourced data needs. Factors to consider are the overall number of participants required, their geographic location, language proficiency, demographic requirements, and the participant fee.
  • Communicate Clear Instructions for the Project
    Communication remains key in crowdsourcing data collection. Providing clear, precise guidelines to participants ensures they understand the project's scope, the kind of crowdsourced data they should gather, and the agreed-upon format for submission.
  • Agree on a Crowdsourced Data Collection and Payment Method
    Decide on your campaign's hosting platform, whether that's an existing crowdsourcing platform or a proprietary one developed in-house. It's essential to consider your campaign management strategy and practices, covering everything from launching the campaign to supervising its progress, managing participant interaction, and overseeing payments.
  • Ensure Data Security & Quality
    Establish stringent data handling protocols to protect all collected data, maintaining confidentiality and ensuring compliance with all relevant data protection regulations. Data quality checks should be in place to guarantee the incoming data's relevancy, completeness, and accuracy.

By following these steps, crowdsourced data collection campaigns can speed up data-gathering processes, provide diverse data points, and ultimately lead to AI models that are more accurate, predictive, and robust.

Benefits & Challenges of Crowdsourcing Data Collection

As with any evolving technological strategy, crowdsourced data collection offers a unique mix of advantages and challenges. Understanding these dynamics allows organizations to maximize their gain while strategically mitigating potential pitfalls.

Utilizing crowdsourcing for data collection can open doors to numerous benefits, from cost-effectiveness, scalability, and diversity to enhanced accuracy:

Employing crowdsourced data collection is more economical. Crowd workers typically operate on a pay-per-task basis, which is typically more cost-effective than hiring and maintaining full-time employees.

AI projects often thrive on large, diverse datasets. Crowdsourcing and tapping into a substantial, global pool of crowd workers allows for the scalability that in-house teams may often find challenging.

The demographics of data collectors significantly affect the granularity and variety in your dataset. By accessing a global workforce with various backgrounds and demographic traits, crowdsourcing address bias and avoids the challenge of creating a diverse in-house team.

Greater Accuracy
A wider array of data contributors can lead to more reliable and trustworthy datasets. This broad-scale approach to data collection reduces errors and increases data quality, driving the development of more accurate AI models.

Despite the numerous benefits, organizations considering crowdsourcing data collection must be mindful of the potential challenges, from data security and confidentiality concerns to the complexities of worker evaluation and reaching challenging demographics.

Data Security and Confidentiality
Sharing confidential information with a global pool of non-contract participants poses data security challenges. Businesses must have strict data security measures and all relevant data protection regulations are meticulously adhered to.

Tracking and Evaluating Workers
Monitoring the performance and accuracy of the crowd workers' work is crucial. Organizations need to manage this intricate task and have a well-defined vetting process in place, ensuring they receive high-quality datasets.

Reaching Challenging Demographics
Certain demographics or target populations may be harder to reach through crowdsourcing. Specialized recruitment efforts or working with experienced outsourcing partners that specialize in recruiting challenging demographics for various crowdsourcing data collection projects are necessary.

Selecting a Crowdsourcing Platform

Selecting a suitable crowdsourcing platform is a critical step toward ensuring the success of your data collection campaign. From platform features to data security, there are a few key aspects to consider as you evaluate potential platforms:

  • Platform Features
    A crowdsourcing platform should possess a suite of practical features and functionalities to facilitate efficient task management. Functions such as real-time data monitoring, effective crowd worker onboarding, and diligent performance tracking are vital tools that streamline the crowdsourcing data collection process.
  • The Crowdworker Pool
    A large, diverse pool of crowd workers is one of the most significant advantages when considering a crowdsourcing solution. Ideally, the platform should offer a broad range of backgrounds, skillsets, expertise levels, and native languages among its users. Further, depending on your crowdsourcing data collection project's needs, you should assess its crowd scalability and flexibility.
  • Track Record/Case Studies
    Case studies provide valuable insights into the platform's ability to manage successful crowdsourcing data campaigns similar to your project. These reveal the platform's strengths and enable you to anticipate challenges for your project.
  • Data Security and Privacy
    Any data collection effort, particularly one conducted on a global scale, must strongly pioritize data security and privacy. Choose a platform that follows strict security and confidentiality protocols for your crowdsourced data, and adheres to all relevant data protection regulations.
  • Pricing and Cost Structure
    An understanding of the platform's pricing model is crucial. Besides checking costs against your budget, validate whether the platform offers fair compensation to its crowd workers. Be sure to consider other financial factors such as platform fees, customer support fees, and any other potential costs that could impact your project.

Crowdsourced Data Collection with TaskUs

Crowdsourced data collection is an advantageous initiative in the rapidly evolving field of AI. To ensure success, it's best to partner with an established and experienced outsourcer. TaskUs has a vast, global network of skilled crowd workers and proven expertise in managing comprehensive crowdsourcing campaigns, whether it’s for AI data collection or other AI solutions.

A leading social media company, for example, was looking for a partner that could assist them in collecting diverse and unique data in the form of mobile videos to train their AI models to recognize facial expressions better and to improve the user experience of their products further.

TaskUs’ ability to collect data from diverse users within a tight timeframe—while maintaining a high level of quality—led to the project’s success. By combining on-site and at-home data collection methods, in addition to our custom operations framework, we were able to deliver the following results to enhance our client’s machine learning models:

Our centralized crowdsourcing platform, TaskVerse, simplifies the entire workflow, facilitating real-time data monitoring, efficient task distribution, and stringent security measures. With Us, businesses can ensure diverse, reliable, and high-quality data acquisition to advance their AI models.

Discover more about crowdsourcing data with Us.


Nitika Bhatia Whig
AI Marketing Associate
Nitika Whig is a digital marketer and blogger with 10+years of experience and expertise in content strategy, community growth, crowd acquisition, and social media marketing. She has worked with leading internet companies like Bytedance (Tiktok) and Alibaba and is currently involved in marketing activities for AIS at TaskUs and growing our crowdsourcing platform TaskVerse. When she’s not busy writing, she loves showing off her love for fashion & shopping to her Insta ‘fam’