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How Humans And Machines Can Solve The World’s ‘Wicked’ Problems


A “wicked” problem is a problem that is resistant to a solution because of an array of highly complex components. These intricate components can clash with one another, they can change over time, or lack sufficient data and they can also occur all at once. How can such sophisticated problems be solved? Researchers from the Human Computation Institute (HCI) and Cornell University have a sophisticated solution — human computation and convergence.

According to The Daily Mail UK, researchers hope that by using crowd-sourced data and interactive tools that they can go beyond current problem solving capabilities. The human computation, or data processing, part would entail humans providing information and researchers converging that information with the inexhaustible computational power of computer intelligence. Researchers explain that this will create multidimensional collaborative networks where wicked problems could be solved.

These new hubs of human computation and convergence would increase the possibility of solving wicked problems.

These new hubs of human computation and convergence would increase the possibility of solving wicked problems. As reported by Discovery News these convergent technologies are already being used on projects like the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Project.

The goal for a project like this one, and others like it, is to ask volunteers (the general public) to participate in the creation of crowd-sourced data by becoming citizen scientists. For the citizen science part of this particular project, volunteers are asked to play a simple online game. Researchers will then combine the data obtained from their volunteers with computer intelligence to create solutions to a problem.

Humans are naturally better at problem solving certain tasks than computers, such as identifying photographs, but when it comes to sifting through large amounts of data, computer intelligence is far superior. Researchers believe that this approach to problem solving could shorten the length of time it takes to solve wicked problems — problems such as climate change, global warming, disease and international disputes.

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