August 18, 2006
Human computation - Google Tech Talks

So I was reading this post about an amazing 3D camera, surfed to the Google Video coverage of a talk about it, only to discover an enormous playlist of Google Tech Talks from over the summer. Truly fascinating was this talk from Luis von Ahn, one of the inventors of CAPTCHAs, on other more sophisticated uses of the human brain to do work computers do badly. What he's done is turn a number of tasks into infectious games while at the same time constructing the game so that a lot of useful metadata can be extracted from the answers people give. Fascinating stuff.
When I was just starting out at Ascio where I used to work we had a really tedious job cleaning up a ton of phone numbers that were very badly formatted. We used to dream of pulling a trick like this, but never put the idea together - what I didn't think of then was the two player angle that von Ahn has succesfully used - I couldn't think of a fun and useful way to present the game and be sure that the solution was correct. Of course I still would have the problem of presenting phone numbers as something interesting, but at least the verification angle is solved...

The whole series of talks looks absolutely amazing by the way, and extremely varied in content. A very nice Google envy builder.

Posted by Claus at August 18, 2006 02:58 AM | TrackBack (0)
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