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Artificial Artificial Intelligence June 9, 2006

Posted by newyorkscot in Visualization / UX.
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Amazon’s Mechanical Turk  has an interesting twist on AI, whereby computer tasks are farmed out to humans.

Essentially, this is a service taking advantage of the fact that computers are great at processing vast amounts of data and crunching compex algorithms, but are not so good at associative and context-based knowledge processing (for now). In this service, the computer actually requests tasks to be performed by a “server farm” of humans, where the folks performing the tasks get paid for their efforts.

Brad Paley, who is a leading expert on interaction design, gave an interesting talk on Data Visualization at Lab49 recently. Part of his talk discussed the boundaries between computer intelligence/processing and human intelligence. Although computers can indeed process data in a few milliseconds, the human brain has been programmed over millions of years to interpret, associate and comprehend concepts and contexts, and is a lot more powerful than a computer at doing so. Some of Brad’s work includes helping the NYSE re-engineer the specialists’ workstations, and the revolutionary science behind the data visualization interface allows the specialist to process up to 30 times more information that they used to be able to do with the previous system.

So, computers are awesome at doing the volume of data processing, but specialists are still needed to provide context and to drive (and control) the market.

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