Massive-scale online collaboration
— Nigel Painting (@nigelchpainting) January 25, 2017
via Twitter https://twitter.com/nigelchpainting
January 25, 2017 at 08:57AM
On one level I admire the idea of harnessing the combined efforts of millions of individuals to solve a problem. I’m aware that similar ‘crowd sourcing’ has been used to identify potentially habitable planets and in the identification of abnormal cells. In a similar vein I tried (unsuccessfully) to get the company I work for involved in using the processing power of our PCs for cancer research, while the computers were not being used a night.
My only issue with this type of distributed / networked effort is when it’s done in a covert way. I’ve mentioned the ulterior motive of RECAPTCHA to a few friends and work colleagues and none of them knew that it was being used to digitise books. As a result their first reaction was a feeling of having been ‘used’, regardless of whether digitising the books in question would be to the greater good.
In my view this type of ‘covert’ activity, however well intended, risks adding to public fears about the misuse of data.