Tretarn writes: What Duolingo does is still not 100% clear, but even so, MG’s statement here doesn’t feel too far out. After all, Duolingo is the latest project by Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn, with two acquisitions of his research by Google already under his belt: the ESP Game and reCAPTCHA. Duolingo is very much in the same spirit as both these projects in so far as it utilizes human microtasks “for good” — in order to help identify and verify information (images in the first case, digitized text in the second) that computers cannot yet process. We creatures of the Web fill out a lot of CAPTCHAs, and some 750 million users have helped Google’s book digitization efforts by using reCAPTCHA to help correct OCR misreads. Now, with Duolingo, von Ahn hopes to be able to use a similar sort labor in the wonderful and mammoth goal of translating the Web into all major languages.
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