February 23, 2012

Strange crowdsourcing ideas

To make a point at CoDev 2012, Fabian Schlage of Nokia Siemens networks presented a series of unusual examples of crowdsourcing:
  • The first video of the Fukushima meltdown — posted to YouTube before the Japanese government acknowledged a problem
  • FixMyStreet.com, a website for UK citizens to report potholes, graffiti or other infrastructure problems in their neighborhood
  • NASA’s “Be a Martian” game, that utilizes crowdsourcing to process images from the exploration of the Red Planet.
  • The Texas Virtual BorderWatch, which allows Internet viewers to watch webcams and report border crimes in progress.
The NASA plan sounds a little like the European Space Agency’s crowdsourced search for earth extinction asteroids or the “Recaptcha” used to digitize Google Books.

The FixMyStreet sounds a bit dicey with its implied promise that something will actually be done to fix the problem. The Virtual BorderWatch injects itself into one of the most controversial issues in contemporary American society (which may be the intention).

Of these, the YouTube trend seems the most representative. I wonder when Google is going to produce a newscast of crowdsourced YouTube videos for Millennials who will never watch TV network news. Or when CNN or the BBC will decide to partner with such an effort before it puts them out of business.

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