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Luis von Ahn launches 'Games with a Purpose'

Luis von Ahn – father of noteworthy projects like the ESP Game (a.k.a. Google’s Image Labeler. Radar post) and reCAPTCHA (Radar post) – has launched Games with a Purpose, in short GWAP.

GWAP and the new games – Tag a tune, Squigl, Verbosity, and Matchin, puts von Ahn and his team at Carnegie Mellon by a wide margin at the forefront of tapping into human cycles to do jobs that computers only can solve poorly or not at all.
At FOO Camp last year von Ahn listed the main motivation for his projects as “I hate paying people to do things.” Beyond the obvious chuckle such a statement releases, there is a truth hidden to it that Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is no doubt feeling and that every HR department knows: people only motivated by money often do a terrible job.

While the ESP Game was licensed to Google as the Image Labeler, von Ahn writes by email that “the data [from GWAP] will be publicly available in bulk to everybody.” My colleagues at Polar Rose will be happy to hear that, as am I sure everyone else in this domain will.

Go spend 10 minutes having fun at GWAP and “help the world become a better place” as von Ahn puts it himself.

ps. von Ahn’s Tech Talk at Google on Human Computation is a classic worth viewing if you haven’t already.

  • http://natenead.com Nate Nead

    Two Truisms About your post:

    1. Companies hate paying people.
    2. When money is the ONLY motivator, people do a poor job.

  • http://www.phrasedetectives.org Jon Chamberlain

    We’ve recently released a collaborative game similar to the von Ahn work that aims to collect judgements on anaphoric coreference. It’s not as inherently interesting a task as tagging images or music, however the results could be just as useful for text summarisation and search engines.

    You can play the game and find out more information at http://www.phrasedetectives.org