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Crowdsourcing platform Toloka accelerates push into Africa

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Crowdsourced platform Toloka – which generates machine-learning data at scale – is expanding in Africa and has already seen great success in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.

Algorithms that advance artificial intelligence (AI) require large amounts of labelled data, and the Swiss company operates a crowdsourced model that lets anyone, anywhere in the world log on, complete tasks, and earn extra income in their spare time.

Toloka has over 9 million people worldwide registered as performers – dubbed "Tolokers" – and the platform's active user count approaches an average of 200,000 people monthly.

Of the total user population, more than 360,000 people in 44 African countries are completing tasks for the company.

The top five African countries with the highest concentration of Toloker are Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.

"Toloka's mission is to advance the development of AI by making data ownership universally available. The global AI industry is developing rapidly, but our market research shows a lack of original, labelled data is a major roadblock for data scientists and entrepreneurs," explained Toloka CEO Olga Megorskaya.

"Through crowdsourcing, Toloka gives data scientists and AI businesses a powerful and affordable tool to generate new exciting data that is later used to train all kinds of AI algorithms."

Ghana navigates the world

Ghana is one of the top three countries in the world for activity on pedestrian tasks that create data for geoservices such as maps, navigation and taxi.

Tolokers in Accra have walked to more than 6,000 local stores, restaurants, city services and other types of locations to gather data that not only improves navigation, but ensures accurate information such as location, hours, contact information, parking and entrances.

"Given the booming tech scene in Africa, it is unsurprising that we are seeing a surge of Toloka users on the continent, and we are committed to connecting this growing network of African Tolokers with companies who require labelled data through our intelligent, flexible platform," Megorskaya added.

The company's open API enables clients to build scalable and fully automated human-in-the-loop machine learning pipelines. Toloka employs smart matching of tasks and performers and AI-based predictions of performance quality to ensure trusted results.

The platform is governed by robust data security protocols and Toloka is in the process of obtaining data management certification from the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO).

*Top image is of Toloka CEO Olga Megorskaya. (Source: Toloka).

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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