Although a tricky term – crowdsourcing can be defined as ‘enlisting a crowd of humans to help solve a problem defined by the system owners’.
Accordingly, there are four questions that are asked in a crowdsourcing project:
- How to recruit and retain users?
- What contributions can users make?
- How to combine user contributions to solve the target problem?
- How to evaluate users and their contributions?
Web based crowdsourcing projects benefit from a large amount of potential users, creative and sophisticated social tools, analytical software and easy user management.
(Taken from Crowdsourcing Systems on the World-Wide Web)
If you use Gmail, then you are probably aware that the content of your emails is scanned and adverts based on keywords are placed in your browser. For example, if you recieve an email about a friends baby then you will likely see adverts about nappies and baby food.
Facebook look set to take this one step with real time adverts based upon status updates. The aim is to place an advert on your Facebook page as soon as you publish something – so if you post on your wall that you are going out for a meal tonight, Facebook will offer you vouchers for local restaurants. Or if you post that your car is due an MOT, then local garage adverts will immediately appear.
This real-time contextual advertising is certainly unsettling, but it is the direction the internet has to take. Advertising is the only real revenue stream for the internet, and billions are being spent on how to perfect the algorithms behind making people part with their cash. Check out the example below from one of the test subjects:
To anyone in the book industry who has failed to accept that the digital revolution is due to hit books bigtime – the latest sales figures will come as a bit of a shock.
The Association of American Publishers has estimated that e-book sales from 16 reporting companies jumped 115.8% this January, most likely because of all the e-readers bought as gifts over the Christmas season. Meanwhile, paperback book sales were down 30.9% in January.
This follows the news that international bookstore Borders has announced another 75 store closures, in addition to the 200 announced last month when it filled for bankruptcy.
Borders is an example of a publisher who ‘didn’t get it’ when it came to digital, just like Blockbuster ‘didn’t get’ the change to how people were watching films. Books will feel the full force of the digital revolution just as music, film and news have already.
Watson, the computer built by IBM that managed to beat the human Jeopardy champions in February, has set its processing superbrain on medicine.
The idea is that patients will tell Watson their symptoms, and the computer will try to deduce what the patient is saying using natural language processing algorithyms. It will then provide a diagnosis based on the information from 200 million documents stored on its 90 servers.
Computer aided diagnosis is becoming increasingly important as more medical knowledge is created. 10,000 medical papers are created each year, and even the most skilled doctor isn’t able to store all the information in their head.
And if Dr Watson becomes a staple in all hospitals, then the quality of diagnosis will increase significantly – Watson wouldn’t give a wrong diagnosis because it is tired or lazy! Also, It could also cause major improvements to the healthcare of the poor (who often suffer inferior quality diagnosis from over worked staff).
There are criticisms of Watson being given a stethoscope. According to some physicians, only a trained surgeon can understand medicine – and medical knowledge is in a completely different ballpark to Jeopardy.
However, even if Watson isn’t fit to serve this purpose, I can’t imagine it would be long until a new computer came along to fill its surgical gloves.
Geminoid is by far the most human looking android I have seen. From a still image it is pretty much impossible to tell that this is actually a robot. In the video below it becomes easier to identify this as a robot, but it could equally be an actor performing a robot. Amazing.
When a debate rages in the press and online, it can often be difficult to get hold of the bare facts and the basic arguments. Wranglr is a simple response to this problem.
Wranglr lets you see both the arguments for and the arguments against an idea side by side. Lines connect primary arguments to counter arguments so you can easily follow the flow of an idea. When you click on an argument you can see the point in more detail and click through to a link with further information. By logging in with your social network credentials, you can start a debate and contribute arguments to existing debates.
The current debate is on the alternative voting system, and the graphical representation of the arguments really helps someone gain a quick overview and familiarity with the arguments. The scope for debates is pretty large – I would like to see a debate asking if bankers are responsible for the financial crisis, or even an argument as epic as the existence of God! A quick scan through Quora would offer some interesting ideas.
I imagine the site will face some problems as it develops – particularly separating good arguments from rubbish opinions – and may require some form of moderator. But for people that want a quick digest of the facts, without any interfering noise, the site will probably be a success – and I’m sure the feature list will expand (although I hope the core simplicity remains).
For an introduction and some background by the creator click here.
I love this Japanese augmented reality game for the iPhone. Gamers can capture virtual butterfly’s using their phone, and the type of butterfly’s available is based on your location. So the more you travel, the bigger your collection!
I imagine companies could invest in creating special limited edition butterfly’s, helping bring people to their stores.
This is a typically Japanese game – they love collection based games (think Pokemon). But it is certainly something I could see catching on over here.
The front page of both the UK Times and the US Wall Street Journal newspapers were dominated yesterday by a picture of Steve Jobs presenting the new Apple iPad 2. Quite a surprising front page story when you consider that even hardcore Apple enthusiasts were underwhelmed by the upgraded features of the next generation iPad.
Headline news for tech websites, sure, but surely the civil war in Libya is more worthy of these newspaper readers attention? You can’t imagine a new Google phone or a new game controller from Microsoft dominating the front page – so why Apple?
Of course, the reason that the Apple presentation recieved such amazing coverage is because they are business partners with Rupert Murdoch, whose company News Corp owns both newspapers.
Jobs and Murdoch have recently embarked on their joint venture ‘The Daily’ – a digital newspaper available on the iPad for a subscription fee.
As newspaper readership is falling, and everybody is set to emigrate to a tablet computer, it is only natural that Murdoch would do everything in his power to ensure people buy the right kind of tablet – ie one that is bundled with lots of his content.