Enhancing Active Learning with Weak Supervision and Transfer Learning by Leveraging Information and Knowledge Sources
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Workshop on Interactive Adaptive Learning (IAL), ECML PKDD, Seite 27--42. (2022)

One of the major limitations of deploying a machine learning model is the availability of labeled training data and the resulting expensive annotation process. Although active learning (AL) methods may reduce the annotation cost by actively selecting the most-useful instances, a costly human annotator usually provides the labels. Therefore, even with AL, we still consider the annotation process to be time-consuming and expensive. Besides human annotators, though, companies often have a vast amount of information and knowledge sources available that can generate low-cost labels (e.g., a black-box model) or improve the learning process (e.g., a pre-trained model). We present a novel approach that enhances AL with weak supervision (WS) and transfer learning (TL) to reduce the annotation cost by leveraging these sources. Specifically, we consider a black-box model like a rule-based system as an error-prone and weakly-supervised annotator that inexpensively provides labels. We estimate its performance with an annotator model to decide whether a human annotation is required. Additionally, we utilize unlabeled internal and external data by transferring knowledge from a pre-trained model to the AL cycle. We sequentially investigate the impact of WS and TL on annotation cost and model performance in an AL cycle through a use case. Our evaluation shows that our approach can reduce annotation cost by 51% while achieving nearly identical model performance compared to a traditional AL approach.
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