An idle thought for making work for idle hands

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After reading Jane’s post about using time people spend fiddling with Facebook for solving problems with other (gaming) networks, I wondered whether there were other things you could do with all those idle hands.

What about Folding@home or Mechanical Turk tasks, as shown rather sketchily above.

Back in May, referring to Sony’s announcment that the folding@home client would be installed on the PS3, Alice wrote about “Games that do good”

“Are there games or game mechanics that could be used to fund-raise or awareness-raise?”

My quick mock up is not all that enticing or interesting, though touches like sparklines, league-tables and scoring could rapidly turn such things into more of a playful and engaging activity, turning all those idle hands to good causes.

Know of anything like this going on?

0 comments
  1. Kai said:

    I can’t think of a gaming example — but there was some talk for a while of using Captchas for human intelligence tasks.

    I can imagine a sort of WarioWorld game that would be perfect for it — “Translate this!” “Identify this!”

  2. Andrew said:

    I’m not sure if the games themselves are awareness-raising, but Louis Van Ahn’s research is around converting “idle hands” into large-scale problem solving.

    RECAPTCHA is another of his projects, not so much a game but definitely an attempt to convert spare cycles into problem-solving.

  3. paulpod said:

    mmmm… something tapping into the “tidying up” instinct feels like it might be a big winner too. Connecting tags up into meaningful pairs to create a giant brain of semanticishness.

  4. James said:

    Paulpod – That would be Chore Wars – “Finally, you can claim experience points for housework.”

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