Humanitarian organizations focused on providing aid during emergencies are also turning to artificial intelligence to assist them in their mission. More and more they are becoming involved in the digital world and are starting to use imagery including Instagram, professional and news article photography as well as accompanying news articles, satellite, and aerial imagery through source sites like Meerkat and YouTube as well as broadcast videos. There is so much of such data on the Internet that finding the relevant data is very difficult if not next too impossible. However, now the Humanitarian groups are starting to use crowdsourcing to assist them in interpreting the massive reams of data.
What Is Crowdsourcing?
The term crowdsourcing refers to the use of the public to perform business-related tasks that a company would normally do itself or outsource to a third party.
The public is providing all sorts of data in such things as blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and other social networking sites and more. You might say that crowdsourcing is using millions of human minds otherwise ignored and involving it in the world.
This model can be used to perform a whole lot of tasks for businesses from creating advertising campaigns to testing new product concepts and solving research and development issues.
Crowdsourcing can make a business more productive and creative and minimize labor and research costs. Using the Internet to tap into this reservoir of ideas can speed the amount of time in takes to collect data through other means including focus groups or trend research.
Already a number of companies are using it in their business. They include:
- Netflix, the online video rental service that uses the technology to improve its software algorithms to provide customers with video recommendations.
- Eli Lily and DuPont are awarding cash prizes to people who can solve tough research and development issues.
- CambrianHouse.com encourages the public to present ideas for software products, vote on them, and collect royalties if their ideas, results in a product.
- iStockphoto.com wants amateur and professional photographers, illustrators, and videographers to submit their work and earn royalties when their images are bought and downloaded. This may or may not have been the reason why Getter Images acquired the company for $50 million.
Combining Crowdsourcing With AI
One humanitarian group that has combined crowdsourcing with AI is the Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response (AIDR). It is using AI-powered with crowdsourcing to automatically recognize applicable tweets and text messages. AI learns to identify the relevant patterns in real-time helping AIDR to automatically identify future tweets and messages. This assists the organization to efficiently manage disaster response.
A company named Metamind is using photographs to identify infrastructure damage and then using the data with AI and crowdsourcing to create accurate algorithms to automatically find disaster damage.
A British company called WireWax is using a combination of AI and crowdsourcing to detect a number of features in videos.
A group at Carnegie Melon University is developing algorithms using AI and crowdsourcing to identify evidence of gross human rights violations in YouTube videos coming from Syria.
DigitalGlobe is using AI-powered by crowdsourcing to automatically identify features of interest in satellite and aerial images.
In the not-to-distant future, humanitarian organizations will obtain algorithms like we obtain apps from an app store that have been trained to automatically detect certain features in texts, imagery, and videos that are generated during disasters. Moreover, the algorithms will be able to "talk to each other" and integrate other feeds including real-time sensors integrated into the Internet of Things through data fusion software that already exists as well as others that are coming.