Congratulations to Informatics Ph.D. Student Lilly Irani on getting an edition of the journal “limn” out the door. Lilly co-edited this volume with Chris Kelty at UCLA and Nick Seaver from the Department of Anthropology here at UCI. They brought together authors working on crowdsourcing, cloud computing, and historical approaches to representing and intervening in collectivities. Authors include Biella Coleman, Daniel Kreiss, Tarleton Gillespie, and Chris Csikszentmihalyi.
You can see the issue here: http://limn.it/issue/02/
Additionally Lilly contributed an article in the journal called, “Microworking the Crowd“.
“In recent years, however, technologists have found a new workaround to the limits of AI. The “human computation” movement in computer science has advocated for “leveraging the abilities of an unprecedented number of people via the web to perform complex computation” (Law & von Ahn, 2011: viii). The fruits of this research are familiar to anyone who has tried to log into a website only to be challenged with a distorted image of text. Website developers use those images, called CAPTCHAs, to discriminate real people trying to log into a site from password-guessing algorithms trying to break in; CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. CAPTCHAs succeed at blocking automated break-in attempts building on the observation that recognizing warped text is very hard for a computer but very easy for a literate human being. The more general desire to leverage these computers’ and humans’ differential capabilities are the foundation of the micro-task marketplace called Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT).
Finally there will be an event associated with limn on November 7 at USC titled “The Fate of Interpretation in the Age of Big Data” discussing big data and the election. We’ll post more when we know more.