Crowdfunding: only 986 years left?

“Dear Kickstarter community,

I am a master student with a background in business administration from a respected university. I have worked out an amazing idea to make sure the world is a sustainable place to live and not one person in the world will suffer from hunger. Also, I am well on my way to beat AIDS and infant mortality. This all seems like great news, however there is a downside to it: in order for this project to succeed I do not need funds and therefore I do not need this platform, or you creative input. ‘Why?’ you may wonder. This is because Chris Anderson was right about one thousand years ago. “Every industry that becomes digital, eventually becomes free”. These were his famous words. With everything now being digital, everything is free. So will be my solutions to these global issues. All in all, I want to thank you for your previous commitments but your financial input is no longer necessary. Hakuna Matata.”

This is certainly an extreme outlook on the future but it could possibly be the last post on Kickstarter in the year 3000 if Chris Anderson’s theory proves to be correct. No more expensive investor management, no more creator incompetence and certainly no more failure to facilitate welfare-enhancing transactions by the market (1). Rather a shift in the economy “from a focus on only that which can be quantified in dollars and cents to a more realistic accounting of all the things we truly value today” (2). Continue reading Crowdfunding: only 986 years left?

Crowdsourcing to the Stars and Beyond: The Galaxy Zoo

This blog has already seen many purposes for the combined skills of many, from disaster relief to technological innovation. But is it also possible to crowdsource scientific advancement? The “Zooniverse” is a group of “citizen science projects”, hosting dozens of projects enabling volunteers to participate in scientific research. It consists of more than 1 million registered volunteers, generally referred to as ‘Zooites’. The data collected from the various projects has already led to the publication of more than 50 scientific papers!

It all started in 2007, when the first Galaxy Zoo project was launched. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey provided Chris Lintott, an astronomer at Oxford, with a dataset of a million galaxies. All these galaxies needed to be sorted according to their shape and features. This proved to be simple in terms of task, but monstrous in terms of scale for just Chris and a single graduate student. It also proved difficult to be done reliably by a computer, as computers could not detect subtle differences and similarities or things that simply looked “interesting.” Soon, they came up with the idea of having volunteers do it. The idea proved more popular than they could have imagined, and the classifications made by the volunteers turned out to be as good as they would’ve been had they been done by professional astronomers. Moreover, as many participants rate the same galaxies, the data is cross-validated on the go: the goal is to have each individual galaxy rated by 30 users.

Continue reading Crowdsourcing to the Stars and Beyond: The Galaxy Zoo

We Have a Winner! #InternetImpactAfstudeerprijs

Yesterday (Tuesday 29th of April) graduated student Frederik Mijnhardt received the Internet Impact Afstudeerprijs (master thesis price) from Google. Google Netherlands decided, for the first time this year, to grant a price to the best master thesis to encourage research on economic effects and possibilities of Internet.

First price went to Mijnhard’s master thesis “Using crowdsourcing for enterprise software localization”. He received out of the hands of Rogier Klimbie, Google’s Policy Manager Benelux, the 5000 euro award winning price.

In his thesis Mijnhardt looked at the possibility of outsourcing work via the internet (crowdsourcing) vs. the tradition outsourcing and hiring of employees. CA Technologies, an international software company, has a translation department at which professional translators from within the company as well as outside the company work. Due to the fact that the workload fluctuates heavily the costs and the time to have a product translated are high. Continue reading We Have a Winner! #InternetImpactAfstudeerprijs