by Mike Masnick

Researchers Hope Online Game Will Help With Image Searches

from the how-to-get-free-labor dept

The various image searches from search engines like Google and AltaVista are pretty good right now - but they don't actually work by "looking" at the images themselves, but at the text surrounding the image. Some researchers are trying to work out a way to improve on image searches by categorizing a ton of images, and letting an artificial intelligence system learn from that. Of course, it's not easy to sit down and come up with descriptive keywords for the hundreds of millions of images they want to put into the system. So, how do you get around that problem and get free labor to help you out? You turn it into a game. The researchers have set up an online "game", called The ESP Game, that asks two "players" to describe a picture they see. If the two players come up with the same words (hence the "ESP" part of the name), they win points. What are the points worth? Well, it appears to be absolutely nothing, but I guess you're not supposed to pay attention to that. It's not about what you win, but just about playing the game (and the free labor), I guess.

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