Games with a purpose (Human Computer a la Matrix – not !!!)

esp_game.jpg
Do you know that in 2003, 9 billion hours were spent playing solitaire?? In comparison, it took only 7 million human hours (6.8 hours of solitaire playing time in 2003) to build the Empire State Building, and only 20 million human hours (still less than a day of solitaire) to build the Panama Canal !! Now imagine if there is some way to harness these game playing time by doing something fun and productive.

Professor Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University has done some ground breaking work in this area by opening up a new way of solving problems that human are great in but computers are really poor in. Well, don’t trust me, here is a Google video of Luis von Ahn’s tech talk at Google on July 26, 2006. If you are not wowed by this presentation and don’t enjoy it, I will offer you a money back guarantee. (smile) Since you can watch the video for free, it is just my way of saying this is a great video. (smile)And if you want to read, here is the ” Games with a Purpose” paper.

I agree with Tim that Google Image Labeler missed one of Luis’ key point — the game has to be fun for people to want to play. At the momebt, Google Image Labeler sucks as a game and Luis von Ahn‘s original The ESP Game is a lot more “fun” to “play”.

As with many thing tech, I first came across this insightful and ground breaking research by Professor Luis von Ahn from this Tim O’Reilly’s blog.

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