We can solve a lot of problems through crowdsourcing, and a number of companies and researchers are developing fascinating ways to harness the power of collective intelligence.
For instance, Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a form of artificial artificial intelligence. Mechanical Turk assigns human intelligence tasks to its users, priced at maybe a penny per task. These tasks require a simple skills to solve (like putting a meaningful label on a picture), and one day we hope computers will be able to perform these tasks instead of humans.
In today's lesson, Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, describes both the optimistic and pessimistic view of what this type of problem-solving represents. While anyone can now write a check to Amazon and access the power of thousands of human micro-laborers, these "turkers," as they are called, are also disconnected from their work. Moreover, their work could be used by bad guys like the Iranian government.