Volunteers needed in the search for Steve Fossett: Where crowdsourcing meets altruism

Andres Bianciotto is someone I met via the blogosphere; he commented on something I’d written many months ago; I took the opportunity to take a look at his blog, and when I realised he wrote mainly in Spanish, I decided to link to him. Why? Some similar interests, and maybe a way of improving my Spanish. I like learning by doing.

Not surprisingly, we connected again, via Facebook, more recently.

And today, looking at my news feed, I noticed that he’d recruited someone to a cause.  The act of recruitment was itself unremarkable, but the cause was fascinating. It said Search for Steve Fossett. So I looked into it.

And what I found was remarkable, at least to me. A Human Intelligence Task had been set up using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, simply asking volunteers to assist in looking through satellite imagery in order to help find Steve Fossett. While the prognosis looks grim, we should do what we can. My prayers are with Steve, his family and with everyone involved in the search.

There is so much we can do with the tools we have, once we get rid of the blinkers we’ve worn. There is so much that we can do that has practical and life-enhancing value for so many people, in health, education and welfare. But we can do all this only if we continue to learn how to use the tools, continue unfettered in our experimentation and in the application of our intelligence, both individual as well as collective, towards improving our capability.

One thought on “Volunteers needed in the search for Steve Fossett: Where crowdsourcing meets altruism”

  1. Hello JP, thanks for this post.

    I’m getting my feet wet in Facebook, so the traction I can generate there is minimal (same as elsewhere, I’m a little guy), but when I received the Amazon MT newsletter that talked about the Fossett “HIT”, FB seemed to be the best medium to spread the message. How come nobody did it? Well. I’ll do it.

    You captured the essence: there are so many tools that can help us DO things towards a better world/life/self, that not using them, learning and experimenting with them would be unforgivable.

    On Spanish/English: I started translating most of my posts back in 2006 (except those a little too domestic), mainly as a way to recognize the global village. BL Ochman (seems like I know lots of people that use just their initials) translated one of my posts with an automated tool, and the result wasn’t by far what I wanted to say, so “I’ll do it” -again.

    All my translations were shorter than the original post. 20% because I guesstimated differently the background of the English-speaking audience, 80% because I can say the same with less words. It’ll be a funny exercise to translate back from En to Sp and cut my posts to a third of the length.

    You’re always welcome to come by. Leave a comment over there, with at least one phrase in Spanish. It can be fun :)

Let me know what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.