Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Games With A Purpose Help With Tasks That Tax Computers

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-computers-are-dum dept.

Education 61

Falkkin writes "Luis von Ahn and his team at Carnegie Mellon University have launched GWAP, a new web site for 'Games With A Purpose.' By playing these online games, humans help provide data for problems that are hard for computers to solve, such as computer vision and sound classification. Slashdot has previously covered other human computation projects by Dr. von Ahn, including the ESP Game and reCAPTCHA. The new web site contains a re-vamping of the ESP Game as well as four completely new games." (Falkkin also points to an AP story on GWAP and to coverage at the BBC.)

cancel ×

61 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

LOL, JS issues..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409198)

Cunt even open the focking page without enabling JS. Well, their loss.

Maybe they could include a game about making web pages work without JS dung.

Or one where you zombify puters with some sweet XSS haxen...

FUK JUU faggoets!!!!!!!!!

Re:LOL, JS issues..... (1)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23413834)

Now now, here's some food. Now stay in your cage.

All games have a purpose (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409216)

Entertainment is a purpose.

I'm a noob can someone help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23410670)

Were can I download the no partner patch?!?!

Re:All games have a purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23412058)

I see the poster's nick Falkkin and the first thing that came to mind was Joshua responding 'Greetings, Professor Falken' immediately after finishing the game of Global Thermonuclear War in Wargames.

Would you like to play a game?

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409242)

will playing these games make my computer tax free?

I was going to give it a try.... (4, Informative)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409254)

I was going to give it a try, but it requires registration and I really just can't be bothered to register.

Re:I was going to give it a try.... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409596)

I was going to give it a try, but it requires registration and I really just can't be bothered to register.

Maybe they could make a game about registering then?

Re:I was going to give it a try.... (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409846)

That's interesting. I picked "random game" and one it gave me was to write text that would be persuasive enough to a human with internet handle "cstdenis", to get him to register on the GWAP site. Guess I see what it's for now!

shoulda said that as AC (4, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410344)

I really just can't be bothered to register.
Said cstdenis, login number 1118589.

Re:shoulda said that as AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23412576)

slashdot I use everyday- a kazillion other news sites a day- not so much.

Re:shoulda said that as AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23422768)

Said AC, unregisted user #eleventybillion

Re:I was going to give it a try.... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23412678)

There's actually an incentive: it's apparently a matchmaking service at the same time. You can set in your profile what your age etc. is, and also select what kind of people you'd prefer to play against. Sometimes there's an option to chat with your partner after the game, I assume if you get a high enough score. Not sure how it works, exactly, since I haven't tried it.

Everyone? benefits (4, Interesting)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409258)

"Everyone benefits! Now a search engine will have a better idea of what's in those images."

What search engine? Is the information I provide to them free for anyone to use, or is it just for them?

Re:Everyone? benefits (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409422)

Says here [newscientist.com] that "All data we collect from the new site will be freely and publicly available"

Games With A Purpose That Tax Humans (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409260)


( Because the Senate-Judiciary-Committee members are criminals), U.S. democracy needs this game:

Send The White House AND Congress To Jail [whitehouse.org] .

Cordially,
K. Trout

Games with a purpose? (0, Troll)

stoofa (524247) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409316)

Why is this on /. exactly?

Re:Games with a purpose? (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409668)

"News for nerds."

Re:Games with a purpose? (1)

stoofa (524247) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409922)

Yes, I know all that!

It was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying 'Do games really need a purpose?'

0 Troll??? Honestly! I was being mildly facetious at the very worst.

Re:Games with a purpose? (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410372)

Really? I thought you were pointing out that /. has no purpose.

Re:Games with a purpose? (1)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435462)

But OF COURSE /. has a purpose: To publicize and discuss new games!

This 'game' sounds too much like work, er, uh, life, and I don't mean the cellular automation thing.

Re:Games with a purpose? (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23454200)

By the way, I might need to steal that last line for my new sig.

Also: how to wash a car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409360)

Hehe, their news page [gwap.com] also has a video of the group using water balloons to wash a car.

Re:Also: how to wash a car (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410298)

Hehe, their news page also has a video of the group using water balloons to wash a car.

Nice way to put a dent in the hood. Then they can play "Bodyshop Bill Blues" or "PleaseYourHonourItWasJustAGame!!!"

Everyone benefits? (5, Funny)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409442)

"You play the games. Computers get smarter. Everyone benefits!"

Yeah, that's EXACTLY the kind of line I'd expect Skynet to use.

Re:Everyone benefits? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409608)

Welcome to the Skynet SecurityCam matching game!

To win, please select which of these pictures is Sarah Connor. Now!

Re:Everyone benefits? (2, Funny)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409952)

Have you seen this boy? *shows picture of John Connor*

Re:Everyone benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23410262)

"You play the games. Computers get smarter. Everyone benefits!"

Yeah, that's EXACTLY the kind of line I'd expect Skynet to use.
before there was Skynet there was Joshua...would you like to play a game?
yes.
how about a game of global thermonuclear war?

Re:Everyone benefits? (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23411484)

'This is a strange game. The only way to win is not to play' ?

Re:Everyone benefits? (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23441720)

I just lost the game, speaking of games that can only be won by not playing them.

Porn for Captcha? (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409512)

Isn't this similar to using [ox.ac.uk] porn to solve CAPTCHAs? Or how about the Google image Labeler [google.com] ? And for a literary example, this is one part of the plot in Ender's Game, but not as obvious, and a more nefarious.

Using a large amount of real intelligence can make some problems easier, if a human can do it much easier, and some amount of noise is acceptable in the output.

Re:Porn for Captcha? (1)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409628)

It's not surprising this is similar to the Google Image Labeler since that's just a re-implementation of the ESP Game, which is also one of the games available on the GWAP site.

Re:Porn for Captcha? (1)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 6 years ago | (#23422932)

Yep. It's like image labler. Sunds better though

I'm too busy with GTA4 (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409514)

To play "Trace the picture of the doggy" or "The $10,000 Pyramid"

I'm not knockin the interface, it's great, but if I went to any 12 year old it would bore them to tears after 1 minute, with them whining "Can we play another game?"

Here's an idea. Give some OLPC's to kids in 3rd world countries. Teach them to read, then pay them $0.01 per problem they solve. Then sell your DB of solutions to Google for $0.03 a solution.

Re:I'm too busy with GTA4 (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410234)

But can you play GTA4 at work?

Hell, if people were given the option of getting paid, even a minuscule amount, to play games at work...

Re:I'm too busy with GTA4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23429798)

If you want to get paid at work so much, go be a game tester. ~$10 an hour to sit in front of Tetris for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Yep, I'm entertained.

I like Squigl (3, Informative)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409532)

After playing with the site for a while, I especially like Squigl... basically you and a partner draw an outline around an object in an image. If you play, make sure you check the "auto-submit when done" button, it helps save precious time :)

Computers aren't getting smarter... (1, Insightful)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409606)

...they're just harvesting data from a lot of people.

As far as I can see, this is not making computers smarter. That is, it's not helping to teach them how to do the tasks given novel situations in the future. It's simply using aggregate human interaction to do tasks that are poorly suited for computers to do still--CAPTCHAs and image recognition.

This is just a way for the company to get hundreds (thousands?) of people to do menial tasks under the guise of having fun. Wouldn't it be better if we actually worked on automating these actions instead?

I'll be impressed when computers are able to take my tags on, say, a photo of my dog, and apply the same tag to other photos of dogs. Until then, this is just distributed work being done by a bunch of people.

Re:Computers aren't getting smarter... (2, Insightful)

Entrinzikyl (715485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409736)

This distributed work *is* being done so computers can apply your dog tags automatically to other images of dogs. This is just a 'fun' way of getting the massive amount of data needed to do things like that. I'll be impressed when computers are able to tag images without using anything learned from correctly tagged data to do so.

Re:Computers aren't getting smarter... (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410522)

I'll be impressed when computers are able to tag images without using anything learned from correctly tagged data to do so.

I'll be impressed when humans are able to tag images without using anything learned from correctly tagged data to do so.

Re:Computers aren't getting smarter... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23411982)

I'll never be impressed.

Re:Computers aren't getting smarter... (3, Informative)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409760)

You missed the point. You can't just magically automate something like object recognition. You can, however, train filters on computers based on how humans identify objects in images.

Re:Computers aren't getting smarter... (1)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23411106)

I think they're also turning the filters on the people when there's nobody to play:

The game: "the secret word is... current." I said, "it is now." Partner said, "electricity?" I said, "it is a kind of water movement." Partner said, "electrons?" I realized it's not human. Game, "Your partner wants to pass."
So I decided to play along

"It has voltage." "It looks like shock." "About the same size as battery." "It is the opposite of resistance."
But it already gave up and the timer ran completely down.

Re:Computers aren't getting smarter... (3, Interesting)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23411950)

The author has an excellent Google Tech Talk where he describes exactly how these games help computers get smarter. Basically, language is a shared set of common knowledge that a single researcher cannot accurately recreate without interviewing everyone. The games are tools to do exactly that. They generate datasets for analysis, and for further game playing. For example, you might find yourself describing the word "preserve" and start with marking it the opposite of destroy, while the partner guesses "strawberry" and "raspberry".

He's got lots of neat results from that system in the talk. [google.com] Go watch it.

Another Collection Attempt. (3, Informative)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409630)

Isn't this initiative similar to that launched by Chris McKintrey and Pushpinder Singh, both of whom created databases where questions used to aid in trying to give robots personality?

Didn't both of these projects fail for the same reason?

I'm sure that Slashdot actually covered this story, but for those interested, the link is here. [wired.com]

Re:Another Collection Attempt. (1)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410556)

The difference between Von Ahn's work and that before it is quite simple: he dresses everything up as a game.

Games are addictive, and this is why his projects (like the ESP Game) have continued, whereas others have faded away. It's not rocket/computer science, just a good bit of reasoning that creates very good results.

Never fails (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23410036)

Geez, site has only been online a little while and already freakin' griefers have moved in. Last 3 games of ESP I played had dipshits that purposely gave answers that didn't even come close to describing the pictures. One idiot just kept guessing "YoMama". Fuckers.

Re:Never fails (2, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410396)

Geez, site has only been online a little while and already freakin' griefers have moved in. Last 3 games of ESP I played had dipshits that purposely gave answers that didn't even come close to describing the pictures. One idiot just kept guessing "YoMama". Fuckers.

What did you expect. Games are entertainment. Some people's idea of entertainment is f*cking with the system.

Only the naive YoMama! would expect YoMama to result in YoMama clean set of YoMama. The YoMama way YoMama you YoMama get YoMama results YoMama if YoMama paid YoMama to YoMama AND YoSista tied to performance.

Re:Never fails (1)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410902)

Yeah, GWAP seriously needs a way of voting out griefers. It's real fun sitting in a game for four minutes with a player that isn't there.

Re:Never fails (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23411992)

And there's already people out there testing ways around the system. Spelling out words in hints. The ESP game had a lot of wierd shit like people guessing the same sequence of words. I wonder if they've measured some sort of meme propagation for collusion like that.

FoldIt (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410516)

OK, so I gave FoldIt a go (it's at fold.it). It's based on the idea of using lots of people to do protein folding rather than automating it or giving the task to phDs. The main gameplay elements are two buttons, "shake" and "wiggle." You basically just move the strands around randomly, then push those two buttons until you hit an acceptable score. Maybe there's more depth to it, but that's about all I could surmise.

Still pretty fun though, and it runs in Wine.

My one piece of advice: make sure the password for the site account doesn't have any funny characters in it. It will say "yeah, sure, that's a fine password" when you register, but if you ever try to use it it will tell you it's wrong, and the password recovery process is utterly broken. You are given a single-use login token, which claims that it's directing you to a page where you can set up a new password, but all you'll ever be taken to is an "access denied" page. So standard web interface stuff, I suppose. *sigh*

The plot thickens (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410846)

OK, so the password works for the site, but if I try to post my problem (above), I get another "access denied" page.

The "beta" tag, in this case, really is there for a reason.

password problem reminds me of Google (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 6 years ago | (#23414612)

The details which cause the problem are different, but the effect is the same. When you email support, do you get a form email back which suggests you try their broken password recovery procedure? There must be a template somewhere that people use to achieve this maximally annoying standard interface. The series of tubes folds back on itself to achieve this beowulf cluster-ah*m of a modern internets interface. Not just anyone could design this. There must be a distributed project capturing the wisdom of many web developers at the heart of this. Probably GPLed.

Re:password problem reminds me of Google (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23448462)

I think the lesson we can draw from this is that it's fantastically easy to make bad user interfaces. The truly horrific thing in this case is that there is no support email that I can find, you have to do support requests on their forum, which is broken, too.

It's a shame, really, because I was rather enjoying it.

foldit??? (1)

ixtapa (903468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23410770)

How can the summary possibly fail to mention the hottest current GWAP, foldit? I swear to god I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking of freaking protein chains. Fortunately, I soon after started thinking of freaking women, at which point I was able to create some protein chains of my own.

Luis von Ahn (2, Interesting)

Daniel Weis (1209058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23411310)

Luis von Ahn has an interesting obsession with games and their possible beneficial effects on humanity - both on an individual basis and in the greater sense. If you want some more information about his methodology or ideas, you can watch his lecture on human computation:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8246463980976635143 [google.com]

As for von Ahn, I am currently studying computer science at Carnegie Mellon and I was lucky enough to have him as a professor (along with Godel prize winner Steven Rudich) for one of the most difficult classes at the school, Great Theoretical Ideas of Computer Science (15-251). He is very interesting and entertaining, and was able to teach much of the course material through games - though they are in no way the same types of games as the ones in the article.

At one point, I wanted to help him with the CAPTCHAs and their future direction (since they are becoming increasingly easy to crack and increasingly harder for humans to pass), but I was rebuffed. He is a cool guy with an aura of arrogance/confidence which does him well. I am glad to see he is making some progress.

Yeah, but... (3, Insightful)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23412234)

...are they fun?

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

MrBippers (1091791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23418598)

...are they fun?
Actually they're surprisingly fun. It's taken up a couple hours of my time since reading this article yesterday.

On a side note there is one game called ESP where you and a partner are each shown a picture. You have to guess words until you each have guessed the same word. Often there will be "taboo" words that you can't use. Checkout this screenshot of the image and what gwap felt were necessary taboo words. Screenshot [buffalo.edu]

tps reports with a purpose (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23413526)

With my new game, you'll each do part of my day job, starting with the TPS reports & moving up to fixing a hard bug on Saturday. Games that help with tasks which tax humans are the future.

Today's news "Academics misunderstand games" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23418008)

Games already have a purpose: to entertain the player. Why don't you just be honest and call your creations "Doing Research As Gaming" (DRAG)?

In Soviet Russia Game Plays YOU! [serious content] (1)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435608)

Actually, as this story demonstrates, this is becoming true everywhere.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>