Consider each knot on a carpet is knit by different people who are at different places, and the carpet being put together after everybody is done. A task that a single person is accomplishing in this case would be a micro-task, and the carpet would be a task that’s spread around the globe via world wide web. Widespread usage of internet not only allows information to be shared instantly but also facilitates platforms to distribute the micro-task load of unmanageable amount of content across human kind.
Creating a game from a never been solved puzzle allows scientists resolve a molecular puzzle within the matter of days (See news article here).
The monkey-virus puzzle was one of several unsolved molecular mysteries that a colleague of Khatib’s at the university, Frank DiMaio, recently tried to solve using a method that took advantage of a protein-folding computer program called Rosetta. “This was one of the cases where his method wasn’t able to solve it,” Khatib said.
Fortunately, the challenge fit the current capabilities of the Foldit game, so Khatib and his colleagues put the puzzle out there for Foldit’s teams to work on. “This was really kind of a last-ditch effort,” he recalled. “Can the Foldit players really solve it?”
They could. “They actually did it in less than 10 days,” Khatib said.
The further connected institutions are (say; corporations, governments, academics) with their user base, there will be lesser amount of unresolved issues constraining the improvement of society. In this case we don’t have scientist working on a virus, we have scientists sugar-coating a problem for people with different motivations and skill set able to cure the monkey-virus. And their success is empowered with their capability in communicating a problem to the right community with the right approach.
Have you ever noticed ‘Stop Spam, Read Books’ during your daily routine of filling out captcha forms? That’s the biggest project that you and I have ever been involved. During the process of digitising books when the OCR comes across a word that it’s can not be sure, it asks humans to decipher their scanned image, and this task is also sugar-coated with our ever endless quest to verify ourselves online. Read more on reCAPTCHA.