Human Computation - Doesn’t it sound like we have come full circle? Before computers were invented, all computations were done by humans. Today, most tasks are relegated to computers. Automation is driving humans to increasingly depend on computers.
After the advent of mobile phones, we don’t even remember key phone numbers. What happens if phone is lost or broken?
In fact the other day, my phone fell and broke. I was not worried. My address book is on the cloud drive. I synched up my address book on new phone with that on the cloud. Most of our essential data could be on the cloud and cached on the device. Most of human memory is not used at all!
Computers remember our schedules and remind us. Our bills are paid for by computer systems as long as we maintain bank balance. Birthday wishes can be sent automatically and mailers are made to look very personal! At work, most business and industrial processes are automated with almost zero human touch! Systems track attendance, arrange meetings, make conference bookings, book business travel, manage equipments, track expenses, trainings, and work done against targets and adjust salaries. Commerce happens online. Orders are taken and goods delivered anywhere, anytime without much human intervention.
But don’t write-off humans as yet. There are intelligent tasks that humans can do better, cheaper and quicker.
Amazon Mechanical Turk – a marketplace for Crowdsourcing denotes these tasks as HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks). For example, humans are good at face recognition. They are good at subjective questions. Humans are quick at listening and understanding speech. Important designs and decisions are still left to humans.
Computers can’t exactly think like humans - not yet!
Crowdsourcing - Apart from discussing, what computers can and can’t do, think of over 7 billion HPUs (Human Processing Units) connected via internet and available! Human Computation in the Crowdsourcing model can leverage this power alongside automated systems. It’s a way of design that would delegate right tasks to humans and let computers do chores they are good at. This creates a symbiotic relationship between computers and humans. Human Computation would perhaps delay the onset of Singularity – a hypothetical state when computer intelligence would overtake human intelligence! It’s hard to say whether Singularity would be good or bad. But that’s a different discussion altogether.
Enterprise Human Computation Model – Think of Enterprises leveraging their full workforce via Crowdsourcing Model of Human Computation. Imagine a Shared Platform that augments Enterprise Business Processes with rules that assign tasks to computers and humans as appropriate.
Continually build and leverage a Knowledgebase on this Platform. The enterprise workforce can pitch-in real-time or asynchronously. Enhance the Platform to leverage public Crowdsourcing marketplaces like Amazon Mechanical Turk, CrowdFlower, etc., with necessary security filtering rules. Enterprises benefit through improved workforce productivity, on-demand global human resources and programs completed at lesser cost and shorter time.