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The Crowdsourced Personal Assistant

By   /  September 12, 2012  /  No Comments

Tom Simonite of the Technology Review reports, “Personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri may be useful, but they are still far from matching the smarts and conversational skills of a real person.”

Tom Simonite of the Technology Review reports, “Personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri may be useful, but they are still far from matching the smarts and conversational skills of a real person. Researchers at the University of Rochester have demonstrated a new, potentially better approach that creates a smart artificial chat partner from fleeting contributions from many crowdsourced workers.”

He goes on, “Crowdsourcing typically involves posting simple tasks to a website such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, where Web users complete them for a reward of a few cents. The tasks are often simple, repetitive jobs that are easy for humans but tough for computers, such as categorizing images. Crowdsourcing has become a popular way for companies to handle such tasks, but some researchers, including the group at Rochester, believe it can also be used to take on more complex tasks.”

Simonite adds, “When people talk to the new crowd-powered chat system, called Chorus, using an instant messaging window, they get an experience practically indistinguishable from chatting with a single real person. Yet behind the scenes, each response is the result of tens of people paid a few cents to perform small tasks: including suggesting possible replies and voting for the best suggestions submitted by other workers.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ openDemocracy

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