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The Power of Crowds and "Human Computation" (vice.com) 155

An anonymous reader writes with this Vice article about the power of crowds when it comes to solving complex problems. "Forget artificial intelligence: The key to solving the world's most complex problems could be human-machine collaboration. That's the rallying cry of researchers who penned an editorial in the journal Science championing "human computation"—systems that combine the talents of computers and humans. The authors claim these systems could ultimately tackle issues such as climate change and geopolitical conflict, all without the existential risks posed by true AI and the technological singularity.

Authors Pietro Michelucci and Janis Dickinson imagine a system that would provide a technical framework for ideas to be shared, analyzed, and revised until the best bubble to the top; Michelucci envisages it as a 'dynamic Wikipedia.' The idea would be to develop our understanding of real-world issues online, and test potential solutions in this computational space, then applying new knowledge back in the real world so as to actually effect some change. 'Imagine something like the game SimCity, but a thousand times more detailed, and then link in real-time sensors attached to the internet,' said Michelucci. 'The more faithful that model of the real world becomes, the more accurate it would be for testing out solutions and predicting outcomes.'"
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The Power of Crowds and "Human Computation"

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  • Fariy ports (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @06:56PM (#51218815) Homepage Journal

    Airy fairy wishy-washy nonsense.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I started reading articles a few years ago about how Eve Online can be data-mined to study economic theories. It's an enormous world, millions of participants, with a completely open, organic, dynamic market economy. And you can experiment with it in ways that would be impractical or unethical in the real world.



  • SimCity2000 (Score:5, Funny)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @07:05PM (#51218855) Homepage

    I played the shit out of SimCity 2000. That right there is the perfect utopia world. In that place, I solved the entire world's energy crisis. Just place a waterfall on every single hill in the world, then turn every single waterfall into a hydroelectric power plant! PROBLEM SOLVED!

    We have TONS of hills in the real world. All we need to do now is to take the water tool, click on those hills, then add the hydro plants on top. BAM. UNLIMITED ENERGY!

    • Your solution is sub-optimal. A perfectly flat world, with strips of water pre-allocated when you're in design mode and water pumps placed between the strips, will give you enough water for everyone. As the world expands, go from coal (bunch the plants in one unused corner) to nuclear to fusion. Skip oil, gas, and solar. The first are too expensive per unit of power, and the third covers too much space.

      This will allow you cover the whole world, and eventually place arcologies like crazy. After a few of the

      • With proper pre-planning, you should be able to do this in one marathon 24-hour session

        Woah, does it really take that long?

        • Try it. It takes a LOT of play just to suss out the underlying mechanisms. And experimenting with different layout. And graph paper.
    • For the record, hydroelectric plants come at the bottom of the hills, not on top.

  • Just imagine, if they'd had this for The Manhattan Project.

    Oh, wait...

  • Unless it's fun, people aren't going to do your work for free.
    • Not a problem - once the robots put everyone out of work, volunteer time will be plentiful as people just try to find something to do with themselves.

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @07:30PM (#51218997) Homepage Journal

    The key to solving the world's most complex problems could be human-machine collaboration.

    Oh, you mean that the key to solving the world's most complex problems could be the exact same way complex problems are currently being tackled?

    without the existential risks posed by true AI and the technological singularity.

    No, you can still have the technological singularity caused by cyborgs, pure computers, pure biology. Certainly, having humans in control of the objectives at every step of the process eliminates some of the worst scenarios, but then again humans aren't particularly trustworthy either.

  • Singularity (Score:4, Funny)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @08:03PM (#51219189)

    Very clever of Skynet to call it "human-machine collaboration". It will take the humans that much longer to catch on than if they went with the more accurate "machine-human collaboration".

  • Before electronic computers, the word computer meant a clerk who calculated stuff like business accounts, insurance tables, ballistic paths, mathematical tables, etc. They wee first males, but during WWI and WWII females predominated as computers. When electronic computers started in the 1940s, the adjective electronic prefaced computer to show it was a machine and better than people. Then after a decade or so the word computer solely meant the machine.

    Some of the earliest computer programmers when wome
  • This would be a great thing to combine with Citizen Deliberative Councils [co-intelligence.org]

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.