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Return of the Human Computers

In the Media

The Economist traces the history of human computation back to 1937 and discusses how the technique is on the rise once again. It highlights the work of Niki Kittur, assistant professor in HCII, on CrowdForge:

β€œIn one proof-of-principle experiment, published earlier this year, human computers were used to create encyclopedia entries. Like performing mathematical calculations, this is a skilled job, but one that can be broken down into simpler parts, such as initial research, writing and editing. Aniket Kittur and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania created software, known as CrowdForge, that manages the process. It hands out tasks to online workers, which it contacts via Mechanical Turk, an outsourcing website run by Amazon. The workers send their work back to CrowdForge, which combines their output to produce surprisingly readable results.”