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Crowd-Sourcing the World

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Santa Fe Institute research fellow Nathan Eagle is launching txteagle, a project that will distribute tasks using cell phones in an effort to leverage an underused workforce in some of the poorest parts of the world. Eagle says using text messages or audio clips to distribute questions to participants in developing countries could make some tasks, such as translating documents into other languages or rating the local relevance of search results, more economical while providing a source of income for those in need. Nokia has partnered with Eagle on the txteagle project, which Eagle says will demonstrate how companies can benefit from this strategy. For example, Kenya has more than 60 fundamentally different languages. Nokia wants to provide phones to everyone in their native language, but has no idea how to translate words, such as "address book," into each language, which could be done by the phones' users.

Another application could be audio transcription. By sending users a short audio message, and having them transcribe that message and send the transcription back as a text message, audio could be transcribed for about $3 an hour, which is 60 percent cheaper than current transcription rates.

From Technology Review
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