Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Human computation

I found out about Human computation by watching this video - the lecture is by a computer expert and he tells how he got people working for free - but he did tell them it was an experiment first:

Watch the video and you will see that he invented a game in which people identified images - something computers couldn't do. Then even went on to do a game where people would identify parts of an image. This made me think. I do Yahoo Answers and wondered if my Intellectual property was being used in a similar way. I found and they were doing something there - but that didn't seem so bad. Then I found something hidden on a student web site that made me think that Yahoo may be doing an experiment in Human computation without telling us - the participants. We were the lab rats in an experiment and they had millions of us all over the world involved? I found the beta program hidden on a foreign student website. But although it was linked to Yahoo answers apparently and Flickr - it had Google adverts on it and a link to a sister site in China that appeared to be owned by Google. The plot thickens! I tried to send a message to the Yahoo answers team and posted a question and a blog hinting at what I had found - no response - just the usual automated email. So if you have watched the video and understand what human computation experiments are all about - now look at the beta web site hidden on the student web site:

If you go to the Home page of that web site it appears to be a site for foreign students mainly from China and there is a link to a sister site in China - it says Google own it at the bottom of the home page! While you are on the site - take a look at this student forum - it's like a market place for drugs and sex!

So who are the villians? Yahoo? Google? Students hacking Yahoo Answers. Yahoo aren't too bright or they would have emailed me by now. Other people on Yahoo Answers are curious too - I've had messages all day. Maybe, we could even get together and sue Yahoo for breach of trust in a law suit.

Google sometimes reply to my emails - but most large companies do the same they have no filter system for the important stuff to get through. I'm doing this on a beta program - Google - blogger beta - I wish I hadn't bothered! Nice template for my blog - but now I can't email my blogs in and everything is unpredictable - it took me half an hour just to log in. I thought it was great when Google offered me 100 Mb of web space on Googlepages - even though it was like Yahoo geocities - you have to edit online. Can't Google afford to give us a free piece of software like FrontPage - but one that doesn't need FrontPage extensions. They give us 2 gig of space away for email - why not let us do good web sites with a FrontPage like program - with adsense on and it would start an explosion of private websites - that Google could link together with a central website that acts as a webring. It would be better than Myspace! A community of amateur webmasters - all making $100 now and then from adsense and Google getting their share! But, great ideas - and Yahoo and Google aren't interested unless they come from their own team! Or they can steal them for free! Maybe, Yahoo is stealing ideas for free? That would be another use for Yahoo answers - they aren't doing it out of the kindness of their hearts - business is business.

Anyway, I expect my fellow friends on Yahoo Answers will read this or should I call them my fellow laboratory rats!

Best Wishes from England.....