Crowdsourcing Primer

After reading a bit about crowdsourcing, I expect any task I find will be something that is difficult or imprecise if left to an algorithm or program, but is doable for people. It could be some subjective analysis as well, such as opinions on what looks or sounds good. One thing that may be difficult is to game-ify the task to keep it interesting and attract more participants, because effective incentives are always tricky to master.

For this exercise, I partook in the Galaxy Zoo Project on zooinverse. In this task, I was given a photo of a galaxy and given several very specific questions regarding the shape and features of the galaxy. This was not difficult at all, and I am certain my 7 year old son could recognize and complete this task just as easily. I initially thought it might be more difficult, but it seems this is a task that people are good at but for computers it is difficult to discern the subtleties in images. This task was for  research in cataloging galaxies and did not pay me anything for my time. I will admit, the easiness of the task did make it monotonous after awhile, but I actually enjoyed the greater purpose of the task, which is to expand our understanding of the universe. If anybody has even a slight interest in astronomy, this is a great way to contribute and see some raw images of the furthest reaches of our universe.


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