GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

“Minds for sale”

Posted by George J Janczyn on December 15, 2009

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University presents a spirited, thought-provoking examination of issues raised by online “crowdsourcing,” or the harnessing of human intelligence to create content and ideas in areas where computers alone do poorly. His talk is illustrated with examples such as:

Mechanical Turk, where users can sign up to receive payment for performing tasks such as choosing the best among several photographs of a storefront, writing product descriptions, or identifying performers on music CDs.

ESP Game, where instead of participating for monetary reward, users play games for scores, with their gameplay recorded and analyzed. One game licensed by Google helps to catalog Google Images by having two players look at photos and guess how the other would label them.

Zittrain is the author of “The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It.”

The talk is about 50 minutes with a question-answer session at the end; it’s worthwhile if you can find some quiet time.

[Dec 22 postscript: I just came across this item: the Guardian used a crowdsourcing project to produce this news report.]

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