Crowdsourcing garden plants

Okay so I admit, I have been a little obsessed with the crowdsourcing idea for a while. This obsession was recently fueled by a conversation I had with a friend of mine who owns an mobile app development company. I was listening to him explain how they made a gardening app. Gardening is the number two hobby in the US… Blah Blah Blah, my mind wandered.

“And there are some tree apps that can identify leaves using a technology like Google Googles.”

The geek in me perked up, imagining the algorithms they use to look at the color and shape, comparing it to similar images, considering the sender of the search request (I am not sure if they do that but they should)

“Actually I think people could do it better,” he said.

Now he was on to a translation app they are working on. Yes, of course, people can do it better. Blah Blah Blah… But then it hit me. He was talking about crowdsourcing. In actual fact, his company pays translators to look at each photo of text to be translated and return results, an expensive method. This is where the conversation got interesting. Why not require the users to do two translations of their own before they get to see the answer to their translation request. Why not require people to identify two plants before they get theirs identified? This is the kind of crowdsourcing I can see really working well. The power of the people, for the people. This fits in line with another one of my posts about the growth of open universities. It’s like the micro-loans that have become popular in recent years. Collectively we have the knowledge to educate the world, but I guess we can start by helping our neighbors identify those plants in their garden.