A group of computer scientists at Cornell University found that humans and computers could solve climate change if they joined forces. The team thinks that both sides have some unique strengths which can be put to work for the humanity’s greater good.
There is even a name for the field which addresses interaction and collaboration between humans and intelligent computers – ‘human computation.’ Researchers said that both humans and computers have their weaknesses so there are tasks that neither side can handle alone.
Scientists acknowledged that it is not a good idea to let computers alone handle the world’s most persistent problems such as pollution, global warming, waning species, geopolitical unrest, and world hunger.
Instead, the group proposes a different approach. They believe that human computation is a system that allows human strengths such as creativity, reasoning, and adjustment to new situations to mix with artificial intelligence and the tremendous processing power of supercomputers.
The theory was described in a recently published research paper in the journal Science.
In our daily lives there are examples of human computation such as humans’ interaction with Wikipedia or reCaptcha codes used by websites to keep spammers at bay by forcing humans to type in blurry strings of letters or identify specific images from a larger set of pictures. Google’s practice to improve its own services by gathering feedback and data from the crowds is also an example.
But the team of computer scientists believe that this type of human-computer interaction holds great potential that has yet to be explored. It can be used to solve problems on a much larger scale, researchers believe.
For instance, more complex issues such as global warming, fatal diseases, and corruption have so many consequences and unpredictable effects that can put even the most intelligent supercomputer in great difficulty. This is the moment when human creativity and decision making skills must come into play.
For instance, a computer system cannot solve alone the failings in providing disaster relief in some part of the world when corrupt authorities steal aid money.
The computer scientists also believe that these global problems could be solved only if millions of people decide to team up and build on each other’s experience and expertise through the aid of computers.
For instance, YardMap, a website which provides precious info to conservationist groups from user input, is only one example of such collaborative effort.
Image Source: Flickr
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