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A driverless car's view of the road. Photo: David McNew/Getty

Once crowdsourced for pennies on platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, labeling data for AI is swiftly becoming a hugely lucrative market — with much of the work done in places with cheap labor like China, India and Malaysia.

Why it matters: It's a necessary step for algorithms that learn from enormous troves of examples. A system that's seen a million cat photos, hand labeled as such, will be able to identify the million-and-first.

Details: The global market for AI data labeling is predicted to explode from $150 million in 2018 to more than $1 billion by the end of 2023, according to research company Cognilytica.

  • It's tedious work: Imagine spending all day at a screen just highlighting stop signs in images taken by autonomous vehicles.
  • Workers abroad who label data for Alegion, a Texas-based crowdsourcing platform, earn between $3 and $6 an hour, Alegion CEO Nathaniel Gates told IEEE Spectrum.
  • But it's pitched as an economic boost for rural areas, because the work can employ large numbers of people without much formal education.
  • For a driverless car, "one hour of video data can lead up to 800 man-hours of work,” Siddharth Mall, co-founder of data-labeling outfit Playment, told India's Factor Daily.

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The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

Bipartisan group of senators unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.