Human computation and playing games

A must read:

I very much enjoyed watching this fun, exciting, and light UW CS talk, “Human Computation”, by Luis von Ahn from CMU.

The talk mostly focuses on how you can get people to do useful work for free by making it fun, by turning it into a game. His motivation comes, at least in part, from noticing the millions of hours people waste playing solitaire on the computer and wondering if that effort could produce useful output instead. His games are carefully constructed to be fun, produce useful data, and avoid cheating.

Luis spent most of his time talking about the ESP Game, a popular Web-based game that, as a side effect, gets people to label images with keywords. In aggregate, this kind of data is useful for image search. People enjoy playing the game for many hours. The researchers have collected over 10M image labels as a side effect of the game play.

Fascinating stuff. From Geeking with Greg.

Undercover Songs

Well, I’ve been working with Nuno on a podcast project, Undercover Songs, for the last five days and I think we’ve reached an acceptable beta fase with our Podcast Episode 0 devoted to the High Energy! Yeah. If you like music and you like covers, I invite you to listen and visit our site. For the Episode 0, Nuno chose two great covers: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by the great Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain and Scary Kids Scaring Kids playing the famous “Losing My Religion” from R.E.M. And for my part, I present you with Ghostbusters (loved the movie) by the uk rockers, Xentrix. Hope you enjoy our podcast… or not!