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Luis von Ahn, the Carnegie Mellon comp sci professor who invented the security guards known as captchas (squiggly letters you have to type in), specializes in getting people to solve riddles that computers can’t handle. His idea is that instead of teaching computers to think like humans, work that’s been going on for decades, it’s easier just to let computers mooch a bit of our smarts for important jobs.
So he and his team devise games. We play, and computers learn from our answers. They learn such things as the meaning of words (or at least their relationships) and how to distinguish objects in pictures.
If you have a few free minutes, visit the new game site: Gwap.com.