Multi-task Learning with Crowdsourced Features Improves Skin Lesion Diagnosis

Ralf Raumanns, Elif K Contar, Gerard Schouten, Veronika Cheplygina

Machine learning has a recognised need for large amounts of annotated data. Due to the high cost of expert annotations, crowdsourcing, where non-experts are asked to label or outline images, has been proposed as an alternative. Although many promising results are reported, the quality of diagnostic crowdsourced labels is still lacking. We propose to address this by instead asking the crowd about visual features of the images, which can be provided more intuitively, and by using these features in a multi-task learning framework. We compare our proposed approach to a baseline model with a set of 2000 skin lesions from the ISIC 2017 challenge dataset. The baseline model only predicts a binary label from the skin lesion image, while our multi-task model also predicts one of the following features: asymmetry of the lesion, border irregularity and color. We show that crowd features in combination with multi-task learning leads to improved generalisation. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve is 0.754 for the baseline model and 0.782, 0.785 and 0.789 for multi-task models with border, color and asymmetry respectively. Finally, we discuss the findings, identify some limitations and recommend directions for further research.

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