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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Human Computation / Google TechTalks

Recently I proposed an alternative method for human identification on my blog so when a friend sent me this video via, I was absolutely delighted:

Google Video: Human Computation / Google TechTalks 2006-07-26

Luis von Ahn

  • Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Ph.D. Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005
  • B.S. Mathematics, Duke University, 2000
  • Recipient, Microsoft Research Fellowship

Key points
  • Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs.
  • Utilize human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve.
  • Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software.
  • Luis von Ahn advocates a novel approach: constructivly channel human brainpower using computer games.
  • ESP Game = an enjoyable online game that help label images on the Web with descriptive keywords
  • These keywords can be used to improve the accuracy of image search.
  • People play the game not because they want to help, but because they enjoy it.

Fun Facts
  • Number of human-hours spent playing Solitaire in 2003 = 9 billion human-hours
  • Number of human-hours spent building the Empire State Building = 7 million human-hours (6.8 hours of Solitaire)
  • Number of human-hours spent building the Panama Canal = 20 million human-hours (less than a day of Solitaire)

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