A Crowd of Opinions, Accessible From Your Smartphone

Move over, Siri: Researchers at the University of Rochester have taken advantage of crowdsourcing technology to create a prototype of a personal assistant that's comprised of quick opinions from actual people.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

A team of researchers at the University of Rochester has created a chat system, fittingly names Chorus, that, when asked a question such as, "Where's a good place to eat in New York?" displays a response derived from a group of people who are paid to submit their answers and vote on the best one. However, it's designed to act like a single individual is speaking, one which is able to interpret and respond in ways that artificial intelligence has yet to achieve.

What's The Big Idea?

Human-powered crowdsourcing is often used for simple tasks that computers can't easily handle, but the researchers believe that applying it to more complex tasks can provide a highly intelligent form of individual service. One says, "You could go from today where I call AT&T and speak with an individual, to a future where many people with different skills work together to act as a single incredibly intelligent tech support." Of course there are still some bugs to work out, including adding more filtering capabilities in the likely case that the crowd splits its opinion on, say, the best sushi restaurants in Midtown Manhattan.

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