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Crowd Computing: Where Humans and Machines Work Together

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, human beings have been fearful of the idea that they could someday be replaced by machines. As technological advances began to replace jobs, many worried that human intelligence would one day become obsolete. Works by legendary authors such as Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) and George Orwell (1984) exemplify these fears, depicting worlds where humans become secondary to the technologies they create.

The concept of crowd computing takes a different approach. By combining human knowledge with technological advances, it offers a ying yang of efficiency and profitability. It leverages the most beneficial part of human intelligence--its experience and subjectivity--against that of artificial intelligence--its speed and objectivity.

The difference between humans and machines

Human beings possess a wealth of intelligence, insight and subjectivity that is impossible to replicate in machines. Brain-guided computation can perform certain tasks that computers cannot, such as transcription and video moderation, at unparalleled speeds. At the same time, however, computers offer a breadth of efficiency of their own, with the ability to sort and manipulate data faster than any human mind ever could. Ultimately, both human and artificial intelligence boast a myriad of benefits.

Crowd computing: Harmony between humans and AI

The relatively new concept of crowd computing recognizes technology’s limitations, and requires subjective human intelligence for real problem solving. As Srini Devadas, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, points out, crowd computing creates “a symbiotic relationship between software and humans.” In other words, it recognizes the strong and weak points of both, and utilizes those qualities for maximum output and profitability.

If there is one fear that crowd computing can put to rest, it is that of the human brain becoming obsolete. This concept insists that intelligent thought is just as powerful, if not more, than artificial computation. Overall, the future of crowd computing possesses the potential to mold us into even smarter, more efficient beings.