Google has updated its Google Photos app on Android with a new option that lets users tell the search giant about the contents of their pictures. By labeling these images, Google can improve its object recognition algorithms, which in turn make Photos more useful. It’s a virtuous cycle of AI development best deployed by tech giants like Google which have lots of data and lots of users.
This isn’t an unusual practice at all. Machine learning systems don’t just learn by themselves, and the vast majority of these applications need to be taught using data labeled by humans. It’s the same reason that CAPTCHAs ask you to identify cars and motorbikes in images. By identifying these objects you’re training AI to do the same.