Contemporary Issues in Computer Science
How can we harness the power of the Internet to do good in the world? To help you begin to think about this, watch this TED Talk with Luis van Ahn. He describes the Duolingo project.
What do you think of the Duolingo idea? Would you use it?
Now choose one of these projects:
The Free Rice homepage announces, “For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice through the UN Food Program to help end hunger.”
1) Check out the site and get a feeling for both what they’re trying to do and how to play the game.
2) Play the game. Turn in a list of at least five words that you didn’t get right.
3) Write a short (no more than 750 words) proposal for a different, but similar, site. You should describe:
a) The cause that you would support. A few words may be all it takes.
b) The activity that your site visitors would perform to generate clicks. Remember that you want visitors to stay a long time. So it must be possible to generate new activities without substantial human intervention.
c) An argument for why people might want to spend their time at your site. You need a coherent paragraph or two here.
d) The business model. How will money flow to your site? The likely answer is that advertisers will pay for face time or for clicks, but you might have something else as well. Again, a coherent paragraph or two.
You should have four bullet items, one for each the four questions.
Note: Here’s another site you might want to look at to get some ideas:
If you find more sites with good ideas along these lines, let us know and we’ll add them to this list.
When a disaster of the magnitude of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami of several years ago strikes, it’s hard for people like us not to try to think of ways we can exploit technology to help out.
1) Do some reading to get some idea of what people have already done. Here are a few links to get you going:
· Twitter parsing and other tools: http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/society/2011/winter/siliconvalley-dmi.shtml
· Robin Murphy(the Murphy of the alternative Three Laws of Robotics)’s blog: http://crasar.org/author/robinmurphy/
· Latest DARPA Grand Challenge: Robots for Disasters: http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/TTO/Programs/DARPA_Robotics_Challenge.aspx
2) Write a short (no more than 750 words) proposal that describes a new idea that exploits technology to solve at least one disaster-related problem. One option is to describe something that could be done, say, this week, using tools that are already available. An alternative is to describe something that we should begin working on now so that it will be ready the next time an event of this sort occurs somewhere in the world.
Save the Planet
While modern society and its almost insatiable demand for resources is threatening our planet on many fronts, it’s also true that modern technology can be used to fight back against some of those trends.
1) Do some reading to get some idea of what people have already done. Here’s one example that you might like:
· Google saves the Amazonian rainforests of the Surui: http://worldtruth.tv/amazon-tribe-used-google-to-save-their-land/
2) Write a short (no more than 750 words) proposal that describes a new idea that exploits technology to solve at least one ecological problem. Make sure that your idea is plausible in the sense that the cost is in line with the benefit and that people might be able to live with whatever the impacts would be on their current standard of living.