[OSM-talk] Facebook mapping highways using AI in collaboration with OpenStreetMap

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Wed Jul 31 16:52:08 UTC 2019

I believe introducing into OSM technologies based in AI / machine learning REQUIRES a concomitant discussion about how the data WILL BE high quality, because they are quality assured (and perhaps here is a brief sketch of our QA process, or a pointer thereto).  Anything less feels disingenuous to me, as well as logically appears to be a false choice.  To say "quality issues are a seperate issue" (sic) seems an insult to OSM and indeed the very introduction of the AI technologies themselves to our project.

It is early (well, "earlier") days for these technologies as they are being built and deployed today, and while many (myself included) agree they can be useful and have their place, they MUST be accompanied by a social conscious as we do so.  OSM already has strong tenets like community-developed consensus to create such a social conscious, so deploying AI without eyes wide open and a firm hand on the tiller is nothing less than insanity doomed to failure.  The least we can do is to strongly couple discussions of quality with AI deployments, rather than divorcing them by declaring them "simply announcement."  I know that whenever I hear such "announcements" without any discussion of how quality will be assured that it is time to be immediately skeptical.  Please, let's keep AI on track by coupling it with discussions of quality, not making them separate issues, because truly, they are not.  Simply wishing that we can separate AI and quality will only more firmly entrench those of us who know to keep them together:  you can have high quality without AI, but you really shouldn't have AI without high quality.  Not as long as human wisdom is present and has something to say about it.

Not to put it too dramatically:  do we really want to hasten "the robots are taking over" by taking the throttle off, by ignoring or diminishing the importance of quality and its discernment by humans?  Of course not. 


> On Jul 31, 2019, at 6:27 AM, Florian Lohoff <f at zz.de> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 29, 2019 at 10:41:17AM +0200, Michael Kugelmann wrote:
>> Am 25.07.2019 um 11:36 schrieb Florian Lohoff:
>>> And IIRC it was about a
>>> collaboration with the local community in Thailand which their first aim
>>> was.
>> I just remember that the "collaboration" in Thailand some time ago
>> (might be years) was quite poor: by using AI generated data simply
>> thrown into the database they destroyed a lot of craft-mapped data. But
>> unfortunately I am not aware how this evolved and about the current
>> situation. That's the background why I would be very cautious about such
>> "collaboration statements".
> The point was not about quality but about announcement and speaking up
> publicly about it. 
> And Facebook did - loud and clear for everyone to hear - Quality
> issues are a seperate issue. I am pretty shure that AI can not replace
> human, on the ground, observation. It can help identify places to
> visit.
> Flo
> -- 
> Florian Lohoff                                                 f at zz.de
>        UTF-8 Test: The 🐈 ran after a 🐁, but the 🐁 ran away
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