Luis von Ahn will present “Human Computation”
Abstract: Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue
to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs. This
talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to
solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional
approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I
advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human brainpower
using computer games. For example, the ESP Game, described in this talk, is an
enjoyable online game -- many people play over 40 hours a week --
and when people play, they help label images on the Web with
descriptive keywords. These keywords can be used to significantly
improve the accuracy of image search. People play the game not
because they want to help, but because they enjoy it.
I describe other examples of “games with a purpose”: Peekaboom,
which helps determine the location of objects in images, and
Verbosity, which collects common-sense knowledge. I also explain a
general approach for constructing games with a purpose.
The results of this work are currently in use by Web
sites and companies around the world, and over 150,000 people have
played some of the games presented here. Practical applications
include improvements in areas such as: computer vision, image
search, adult-content filtering, spam prevention, common-sense
reasoning, accessibility, and security in general.
About Luis von Ahn
Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science
Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received
his Ph.D. in 2005. Previously, Luis obtained a B.S. in mathematics
from Duke University in 2000. He is the recipient of a MacArthur
Fellowship, and was named one of Popular Science Magazine's “Brilliant
10” scientists of 2006. His research interests include encouraging
people to do work for free, as well as catching
and thwarting cheaters in online environments.