‍Unlocking the mysteries of our company's mythical basis

Angela Park
March 9, 2022

Usually, when people hear the word “centaur,” the first thing that comes to mind is the half human, half horse creature from Greek mythology. Given that association, why are we called Centaur Labs, and what does it have to do with medical data labeling and AI anyway?

History of the Modern Centaur

Fast forward 2000+ years, the modern centaur, as we use the term today, is a human and machine hybrid. This idea was relatively common in the 1970s, but was popularized in 1997 after chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov lost a chess match to Deep Blue, an IBM supercomputer. After some time, Kasparov saw the potential of human and computer teams. Specifically, he explored how they should best collaborate and integrate. He observed that a “weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.” Thus, Kasparov invented “Centaur Chess,” which is a form of chess where teams are composed of humans that work with computer/AI support.

Nowadays, the modern centaur concept applies far beyond just chess. Today, humans and AI work together in a variety of fields, from air traffic control to digital art tools, and these types of interactions will only become more prevalent in the future.

Centaur Labs

Centaur Labs is applying the concept of the modern centaur to one of the most challenging, yet not widely known, problems in healthcare: medical data labeling. As the presence of AI/ML increases in healthcare, so does the need for high quality training data. At Centaur, we’re harnessing the power of collective intelligence by using a network of medical experts (human) to analyze medical data (e.g., images, videos, audio recordings, etc.) and create high quality data labels. By leveraging human inputs, we’re helping healthcare leaders and innovators accurately train their AI algorithms (machine).

Thus, Centaur Labs’ name and mission was born: “To build a trusted network of people and machines to annotate the world’s medical data.”

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