Tag Archives: crowdsourcing

Growing clean energy down at the Crowd Farm

Subway stairwellHere’s a different sort of crowdsourcing. The “Crowd Farm” is the brainchild of two MIT architecture students, and it’s a system designed to harness the physical movements of large masses of people and turn it into usable electricity – imagine contributing to the metro station’s lighting by climbing the stairs, for example. It’s a great idea – and like a lot of great ideas, a couple of people have thought of it already. Let’s hope any arguments over patents don’t get in the way of something that can reduce our collective carbon footprints, eh? [Image by yeuxrouge]

Wikia – searching with the wisdom of crowds

It’s a brave business that openly announces its intent to beat Google at their main game. But Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, is nothing if not a man of vision – his commercial start-up Wikia is currently assembling the base of a distributed web-search facility which will be enhanced by its users, in the form of human editors who will clarify ambiguous results.

We hear a lot about crowdsourcing from its supporters and detractors alike, and the jury is still out on Wikipedia’s reliability for that very reason. But one thing’s for certain – there’ll be a lot of SEO consultants with a vested interest in this project not doing so well. Ever seen a wiki-war? Now, just imagine the sort of intense conflict that paid shills could produce over search results … and the potential income a bribe-taking editor could make …

WIRED autopsies crowdsourcing experiment

Crowdsourcing is one of the slew of neologisms that the past year or so has thrown up – and like a lot of neologisms, everyone who uses it seems to have a different idea of what it means. WIRED attempted to put theory into practice in the field of ‘citizen journalism’ by crowdsourcing a series of articles on crowdsourcing – very meta. While they got some pretty interesting articles out of it, including an
interview with Douglas Rushkoff in which he writes off the term as a way for corporations to get work done for free
, it didn’t work out to be the bed of roses they had hoped – the dissection of the project is well worth reading.