We are living in an age when computing is revolutionizing science. But, Humans maintain an an edge over computers when it comes to solving complex problems. Uniquely Human abilities, like pattern recognition, abstraction and imagination make all the difference.
This may be the reason why it only took 10 days for a group online to make an HIV related discovery that eluded researchers for over a decade. This act of crowdsourcing solutions to science's tough problems is called citizen science.
Crowd experts could fix problems of all sizes someday, according to Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Researchers from Cornell University and the Human Computation Institute want more humans to help out in accelerating research and finding solutions to life's most difficult problems, such as cancer, HIV, climate change and drought. Pietro Michelucci, director of the Human Computation Institute says that combining various systems makes it possible to use the wisdom of crowds to substitute for experts. For instance, a smartphone app called "Malaria Spot," found that every 23 diagnoses from members of the general public were as accurate as one diagnosis from a certified pathologist.
"So this means, instead of creating just one-off human computation systems from scratch each time, we now have the ability to connect different methods of engagement and have real-time access to crowds," said Michelucci. "When we can make that work, we have this force multiplier. If we have 30,000 people in the general public and it takes 30 people, then we have 1,000 crowd experts".
The answer to many of the worlds large and complex problem may rely on the combination of human and computer intelligence.