GrokSurf's San Diego

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

Posts Tagged ‘Crowdsourcing’

“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.]

Posted in Internet, Technology, Videos | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Getting things fixed around town

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 24, 2009

The U-T has a “Just Fix it” column you can contact if there is “a problem government hasn’t taken care of despite your complaints.” The column’s writer selects cases and follows up by contacting the appropriate agency and resolving communication issues or other impediments to the solution. Good PR for the U-T although the scope of service is by necessity limited by space and time.

I wonder why the U-T or another news organization (or the city, for that matter) doesn’t take advantage of one of the online services that let people easily request 311-type government services, facilitating the process of getting requests routed to the appropriate agency and tracking them for follow-through.

Such services allow people to report problems from their mobile devices in addition to their computers and even to include photos in their reports. People can see what else is being reported in their areas and add their “vote” to issues already submitted that they are also concerned about.

Take a look at some of these offerings.
A neighborhood reporting system that has been established for some time
Another reporting system
Another reporting system
An example from Great Britain
A website meant to facilitate an international effort to build open interoperable systems that allow citizens to more directly interact with their cities.

On the live SeeClickFix map you can hover a spot to view details


Having such a system for San Diego could lead to better service, reach new constituents, and facilitate interagency collaboration. Wouldn’t something like this be a handy resource for our community?

Apr 12, 2010: O’Reilly Radar just published this review of SeeClickFix.


Posted in Government, Internet, Newspapers, Technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »