Human Computation – Computers and humans working together

Robots and Humans working together

Recently I read an article written by Alexander J. Quinn and Benjamin B. Bederson titled Human Computation: Charting the Growth of A Burgeoning Field. Now human computation is how some of us interact with our computers and more importantly how us and our computers are able to do some amazing things. Now for those who may not know what human computation is, the simplest definition is one of how it refers to when a computer cannot solve a problem and needs a human to solve the problem for it based off of some of the work the computer has done.

So here’s an example of what human computation is that is given in the reading I mentioned above. There is a mobile application called VizWiz “that enables a blind person to take a picture of a situation in life and ask a question about it to working in the cloud (i.e. “Which of these doors is the men’s room?”)” (Human Computation, Alexander Quinn and Benjamin Bederson, pg4). The computer itself does not have the ability to decide which of the two doors is the men’s room, what the computer does have the ability to do is to take the photo, and distribute it the cloud to other people who do have the ability to tell which door is right. It is also noted that in the case of bad answers, pranks or mistakes that “the system solicits redundant answers” (Quinn and Bederson, pg4). This means that the computer and its users capability are based not merely on individual ability but rather the ability of the computer coupled with the ability of others.

We can see another example of this with how MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has been striving to help integrate a stronger relationship between humans and robots by doing training were instead of having humans being reviewed it’s the robots. The general idea of the program is to reverse robot and human roles, were instead of seeing the robot as doing what it can do while the human can change, the robot is the one that is being enhanced with impressive results.


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