Science News
from research organizations

Human-machine superintelligence can solve the world's most dire problems

Date:
January 4, 2016
Source:
Human Computation Institute
Summary:
At the heart of crowdsourcing, citizen science, and collective intelligence is human computation -- the science that aims to combine the unique strengths of humans and computers to create new capabilities. Researchers describe the state of the art, and how can such methods be advanced to address pressing and complex societal issues.
Share:
FULL STORY

Humans surpass machines at many things, ranging from simple pattern recognition to creative abstraction. With the help of computers, these cognitive abilities can be effectively combined into multidimensional collaborative networks that achieve what traditional problem-solving cannot.
Credit: © Sergey Nivens / Fotolia

The combination of human and computer intelligence might be just what we need to solve the "wicked" problems of the world, such as climate change and geopolitical conflict, say researchers from the Human Computation Institute (HCI) and Cornell University.

In an article published in the journal Science, the authors present a new vision of human computation (the science of crowd-powered systems), which pushes beyond traditional limits, and takes on hard problems that until recently have remained out of reach.

Humans surpass machines at many things, ranging from simple pattern recognition to creative abstraction. With the help of computers, these cognitive abilities can be effectively combined into multidimensional collaborative networks that achieve what traditional problem-solving cannot.

Most of today's human computation systems rely on sending bite-sized 'micro-tasks' to many individuals and then stitching together the results. For example, 165,000 volunteers in EyeWire have analyzed thousands of images online to help build the world's most complete map of human retinal neurons.

This microtasking approach alone cannot address the tough challenges we face today, say the authors. A radically new approach is needed to solve "wicked problems" -- those that involve many interacting systems that are constantly changing, and whose solutions have unforeseen consequences (e.g., corruption resulting from financial aid given in response to a natural disaster).

New human computation technologies can help. Recent techniques provide real-time access to crowd-based inputs, where individual contributions can be processed by a computer and sent to the next person for improvement or analysis of a different kind. This enables the construction of more flexible collaborative environments that can better address the most challenging issues.

This idea is already taking shape in several human computation projects, including YardMap.org, which was launched by the Cornell in 2012 to map global conservation efforts one parcel at a time.

"By sharing and observing practices in a map-based social network, people can begin to relate their individual efforts to the global conservation potential of living and working landscapes," says Janis Dickinson, Professor and Director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

YardMap allows participants to interact and build on each other's work -- something that crowdsourcing alone cannot achieve. The project serves as an important model for how such bottom-up, socially networked systems can bring about scalable changes how we manage residential landscapes.

HCI has recently set out to use crowd-power to accelerate Cornell-based Alzheimer's disease research. WeCureAlz.com combines two successful microtasking systems into an interactive analytic pipeline that builds blood flow models of mouse brains. The stardust@home system, which was used to search for comet dust in one million images of aerogel, is being adapted to identify stalled blood vessels, which will then be pinpointed in the brain by a modified version of the EyeWire system.

"By enabling members of the general public to play some simple online game, we expect to reduce the time to treatment discovery from decades to just a few years," says HCI director and lead author, Dr. Pietro Michelucci. "This gives an opportunity for anyone, including the tech-savvy generation of caregivers and early stage AD patients, to take the matter into their own hands."


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Human Computation Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Michelucci, J. L. Dickinson. The power of crowds. Science, 2015; 351 (6268): 32 DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6499

Cite This Page:

Human Computation Institute. "Human-machine superintelligence can solve the world's most dire problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104080041.htm>.
Human Computation Institute. (2016, January 4). Human-machine superintelligence can solve the world's most dire problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104080041.htm
Human Computation Institute. "Human-machine superintelligence can solve the world's most dire problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104080041.htm (accessed July 29, 2016).

Share This Page: