Labeling The Web – The ESP Game – Using Humans Cleverly

In a response to a question I had about how consensus would ever be reached regarding a universal tagging system for the semantic web, Yoav Ezer over at PDF to Excel Conversion dropped a link to this Luis von Ahn webcast . (video is 51 minutes long, but well worth it)

Luis discusses the problems inherent in labeling images on the web, and then provides a remarkable solution. The ESP Game. By ‘using humans cleverly’, he demonstrates that not only can seemingly insurmountable tasks be accomplished, but that they can be accomplished in much less time than previously thought possible.

Do yourself a favor, watch the video, then play the ESP Game. Over ten million labels have now been collected. Luis von Ahn’s presentation will definitely make you think.


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