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November 01, 2006

Mozes mob and the rise of intelligence augmentation

Mozes mob logo

Artificial intelligence... the real, hard-core type of artificial intelligence that was supposed to lead to super smart computers like HAL in 2001 or KITT on the 80s TV show Knight Rider...never quite happened the way we all thought itt would back in the 60s when A.I. was lauded as the next big thing.

A.I. may have been a dud, but I.A. is going great guns. I.A. stands for intelligence augmentation, a catch-all term for a wide variety of techniques that use actual human beings, with actual human brains, as part of computer programs. The idea is that by having a human deal with the specific parts of a problem that are difficult or impossible for a computer, but trivial for you or me, you can have a program that seems to possess real artificial intelligence.

A great example is Mozes Mob, a cell-phone based service that lets you pose free-form questions. Try it yourself! Text message a question that a human could answer easily but an autonomous computer program would have a hard time figuring out (such as "Is the weather nicer in Miami or Buffalo?" or "What was Carlton Fisk's most famous home run?&uqot;) to 66937. Behind the scenes your question is sent to a swarm of Mozes mob volunteers. One of them answers, and their response is bounced back to your cell phone, usually all in a just a few seconds.

I. A. has a lot in common with what publisher Tim O’Reilly calls the "architecture of participation". Examples of that include thousands of people coming together to create the Wikipedia, or the popular trend of tagging online articles and photos. But I.A. takes things one step further. Here the human knowledge isn’t front and center the way it is in Wikipedia, it’s automated away behind the face of the computer program... a tiny human cog, deep inside the machine.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at November 1, 2006 11:57 PM


Glad you like the Mob! There's certainly a bunch of dedicated 'mobsters' sharing their knowledge and we've just gotten started. We're always looking for feedback - so please let us know how we can make the experience even better.

Posted by: Irv Remedios at November 3, 2006 09:36 AM