by | Mohd Hasan Mohd Saaid | firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction – What is Crowdsource?
There is a growing interest in ‘engaging the crowd’ to identify or develop innovative solutions to public problems. This trend has been inspired by similar efforts in the commercial world to design innovative consumer products or solve complex scientific problems, ranging from customdesigned T-shirts to mapping genetic DNA strands.
Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The term is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers as in mass collaboration as mass collaborations have been successful in various business and social activities.
Scientists have found ways to use the power of many sets of eyes and ears. A study in US found that volunteer counters who examined NASA lunar images did just as well in identifying individual craters as scientists with five to 50 years of experience. Stuart Robbins of the University of Colorado who led the study said it provides ‘evidence that we can use the power of crowdsourcing to gather more reliable data from the moon than we ever thought was possible before.’
Key Drivers :
• Accelerated pace of IT change. The installed base of the Internet of Things is estimated to reach approximately 212 billion in 2020. This will include 30 billion “connected (autonomous) things” that same year.
• Maturation of crowdsourcing platforms. The use of social technologies as a tool for business and public collaboration and is a well-established and maturing trend.
• Strong influence resulted from early adopters. Some of the biggest market disrupters, such as Facebook, Waze app and crowdsourcing platform like Kickstarter are currently using crowdsourcing services to solve most of their problems, and everyone is taking notice.
• Mobility. The ubiquity and growing power of mobile devices make them increasingly useful for crowdsourced science. As of 2014, global mobile-phone penetration stands at 117 phones per 100 people enabling the culture of mobility.
• Desire to contribute. Many participants in one study were found to be largely motivated by the desire to contribute to the advancement of science while others driven by civic engagement.
Social Visual Search Visual search is defined as using a visual input, instead of textual inputs, as a search query when using web or mobile-based search engines. Visual search technologies allow users to submit queries, typically via photo software like images of objects, signs, locations, or people and they receive detailed, relevant information in response, in both image and text formats. Complex to build, populate and maintain, visual search has been in development for years, but recently has become more prominent (thanks to the rise of smartphones with cameras!). While only a handful of technology companies and institutions have successfully deployed visual search commercially, the outlines of its future promise are becoming clearer.
For example, using the crowd to interpret satellite imagery has been used in the case of missing flight MH370. The satellite images gathered would then be made available for free to the public on a website called Tomnod, and the public participates by analysing high-resolution images for any sign of the missing plane. DigitalGlobe would use a computer algorithm to assist the in-house satellite imaging experts to follow up on leads based on the users tagging pattern.2 Three million people have joined an effort led by a satellite operator to locate the missing Malaysia Airline’s plane, which may be the largest crowdsourcing project of its kind.
It is not an exciting work, but digital crowdsourcing initiatives like this one have yielded results. After a small plane went down in the Idaho wilderness in January, in the wake of the Haiyan supertyphoon, more than 400,000 tags on images helped identify 38,000 damaged buildings; and in the case of the Oklahoma Tornado in 2013, 101,000 damaged homes were identified through digital crowdsourcing.
Mass Open Online Knowledge Sharing Besides Wikipedia, Khan Academy, a nonprofit organisation that provides free educational content online uses volunteers to share their knowledge by teaching online and translate the website into different languages to provide localization services.
Crowdsource Movie It is a unique experiment in social filmmaking by engaging world’s online community. In the case of film ‘Life in a Day’ the director of ‘State of Play’ and ‘The Last King of Scotland’, Kevin Macdonald, used crowdsource to select from 80,000 clips summited to YouTube showing the life in a single day, July 24, 2010.
‘Life in a Day’ followed two previous crowdsourcing projects by the Googleowned video sharing website. The YouTube ‘Symphony Orchestra’ gathered works of classical musicians and ‘Guggenheim’ created a tie-up with artist from around the world.
Open Innovation Open innovation allows people from all aspects of business such as investors, designers, inventors, and marketers to collaborate into a functional profit making reality. This is done either through a dedicated web platform to gain outside perspective, or used with only internal employees. Open innovation may bring together people from different parts of the world and different sectors of business to work together on a project. It is effectively a collection of different fields and levels of expertise that would not otherwise be available to any budding entrepreneur. It also elevates previously considered uninvolved parties, such as investors, to roll up their sleeves and impart their knowledge, essentially becoming more than just a cash cow.
Wikipedia One famous example of crowdsource is Wikipedia. Instead of creating an encyclopaedia on their own by hiring writers and editors, Wikipedia gives the crowd the ability to create the information on their own. The result is the most comprehensive encyclopaedia this world has ever seen.
Waze App As our smartphones have become smarter, an app called Waze works like a navigation system that relies on usergenerated information to help drivers avoid traffic problem includes traffic density, construction, alternative routes and even speed-trap notifications from other drivers using the app.
Research Funding As research budgets tighten at universities and federal financing agencies, a new crop of Web-savvy scientists is hoping the wisdom and generosity of the crowds will come to the rescue. While non-profit science organisations and medical research centres commonly seek donations from the public, Dr. Calkins, an Adjunct Professor of Biology at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and his partner, Dr. Gee, may have been the first professional scientists to use a generic ‘crowdfunding’ website to underwrite basic research.
Science Exploration Research scientists are using crowdfunding platforms to raise money for basic research. For example uBiome, which is a basic science project that seeks to better understand the human microbiome, have raised over $350,000 on Indiegogo.
Economy Business Startup
Crowdsourcing for business start-up. If bank is not an option, peer-to-peer investment could offer an attractive avenue for would-be entrepreneurs looking to bring a new idea to the market.
Creative Crowdsourcing The extraordinary explosion of online video has spawned a market in crowdsourced video creation. Producers (amateur or professional) can post their needs to a site like Wooshii or Userfarm, where a talent pool of animators, designers, and other content creators respond by submitting their sketches. For example, if one is looking for a logo design, one can tell a crowd of designers what one wants, how much one is willing to pay, and one’s deadline. Many interested designers will create finished designs and one can choose and keep whichever one likes.
Crowdsourcing creates healthy competition, thus increases quality and decreases the price.
Microtasking Micro tasking in crowdsourcing involves breaking work up into tiny tasks and sending the work to a crowd of people. If someone has 1,000 photos on his website that need captions, one can ask 1,000 individuals to each add a caption to a photo. Break up the work and decide the payment for each completed task (typically .01¢ – .10¢ per task). With micro tasking, one can expect to see results within minutes. It normally involves tasks such as scanning images, proofreading, database correction and transcribing audio files. Work is done faster, cheaper, and usually with less errors (when validation systems are in place).
Crowdfunding Crowdfunding involves asking a crowd of people to donate money for a project. For example, to raise RM10,000 to pay for studio time to record a new CD, crowdfunding can help you raise that money. To do that a crowdfunding platform is needed. The required or targeted amount, deadline, and any reward or profit-sharing offered to donors has to be clearly stated.
Kickstarter, one of the biggest crowdsourcing platforms internationally, has brokered investment pledges exceeding US$1 billion since it was founded five years ago.
Economy of Crowdsource The Digital Malaysia programme is developing and implementing a number of crowdsource projects such as ‘Asian e-fulfillment hub’ and ‘on-demand, customised online education’. The projects provide crowdsourcing platforms for micro-task jobs to the ‘bottom 40 percent of the community’.1 The main goal of the microsourcing projects is to provide supplementary income opportunities to those in the lower income category by connecting businesses with untapped talents across the underprivileged community.
Given that so much collaboration happens through digital channels, there is the potential for almost limitless collaboration with everyone else who is connected to the internet regardless of whether they are employee or not.
Reforestation Reforest Patagonia campaign incorporates social media, GPS technology, and the power of crowdfunding to compel people to get involved with the reforestation effort. The first level of participation is simple. By donating US$4, Reforest Patagonia will plant a native-species tree (species: lenga, ñirre, and coigüe) in your name. Donors also receive an official certificate of its authenticity with the tree’s exact GPS coordinates, allowing for the tree to be seen via Google Maps from anywhere in the world.
Air Quality Monitoring Systems are being developed to crowdsource air-pollution monitoring to networks of volunteers. Data collected and aggregated through tools such as AirCasting or the Air Quality Egg could help state regulators and advocacy groups be alerted to emissions issues as they happen, so that preventive action could be taken before air pollution becomes a serious problem. Noise Pollution Australian engineers have developed techniques for using people’s mobile phones to map the level of noise in a given area. Radiation Measurement Since the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, volunteers have collected more than 10 million data points about radiation levels using inexpensive Geiger counters, which the Safecast project has used to create highresolution maps.
Civic Engagement Governments are experimenting with crowdsourcing to engage more with citizens. At the same time, citizens themselves are increasingly taking advantage of crowdsourcing tools to boost civic engagements and influence the governments.
Crowdsourcing can provide advantages for both national and local governance. However, the model has its drawbacks such as the propensity for crowdsourcing participants could be from the overpassionate groups rather than the majority of people or most knowledgeable ones.
The move towards crowdsourced government is part of an overarching shift of power from closed, professional networks to new and expanded knowledge networks enabled by the internet and mobile networks. Crowdsourcing tools will increasingly allow citizens to interact more directly with their governments, either through governments or citizen-created systems intended to influence government policy or decision-making.
Malaysia’s Budget 2014 A country’s national budget determines how the state spends the money in its coffers. Since this has a big effect on the public, it makes sense for them to at least express their thoughts on how the money should be used. That is exactly what the Malaysian government is asking with its #Bajet2014 campaign. The government set up a website for users to share thoughts on how to use the money in a beneficial manner. The website was operated for a pre-determined. After the end of the period, the Finance Ministry of Malaysia would sort through the comments and consider the ones that could actually be implemented.
Policy Making Crowdsource is also used to assist the government to formulate policies. The Future Melbourne wiki, for example, invited Australians to actively contribute to and edit the city’s 10-year plan.
Governments, especially at local levels, could leave the design of smaller, narrowly focused initiatives to an engaged constituency through wikis. On the national levels, groups with knowledge about specific issues could join this wiki projects to improve policymaking.
Open Ministry Finland allows legislation to be created by the citizens by linking the accounts on the Open Ministry project to their bank accounts or cell phones. If 50,000 people participate and sign a piece of proposed legislation on the Open Ministry project, within six months it will be sent to Parliament.
Iceland has had similar success with Better Reykjavik, an open platform for the city’s denizens to create and share ideas on how to improve the nation’s capital.
Bottom Line Crowdsourcing’s biggest benefit is the possibility to receive better quality results as more people offer their best ideas, skills and support. Crowdsourcing allows the selection of the ‘best’ from a sea of ‘best entries’, as opposed to receiving the ‘best entry’ from a single provider. Results could be delivered much faster compared to the traditional methods as crowdsourcing is a form of freelancing where time, apart from price, becomes part of the competition. A finished video could be delivered within a month, a finished design or idea within a week, and microtasks appear within minutes.
Clear instructions are essential in crowdsourcing. One could potentially be searching through thousands of possible ideas, which could be painstaking or even complicated, if the instructions are not clearly understood. Quality could be difficult to judge if proper expectations are not clearly stated.