Winter Milestone 5 Templates

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System (for task feed and open gov write up)

Brief introduction of the system

Twitch is an Android application that appears when the user presses the phone’s power/lock button (Figures 1 and 3). When the user completes the twitch crowdsourcing task, the phone unlocks normally. Each task involves a choice between two to six options through a single motion such as a tap or swipe.

How is the system solving critical problems

To motivate continued participation, Twitch provides both instant and aggregated feedback to the user. An instant feedback display shows how many other users agreed via a fadeout as the lock screen disappears (Figure 4) or how the user’s contributions apply to the whole (Figure 5). Aggregated data is also available via a web application, allowing the user to explore all data that the system has collected. For example, Figure 2 shows a human generated map from the Census application. To address security concerns, users are allowed to either disable or keep their existing Android passcode while using Twitch. If users do not wish to answer a question, they may skip Twitch by selecting ‘Exit’ via the options menu. This design decision has been made to encourage the user to give Twitch an answer, which is usually faster than exiting. Future designs could make it easier to skip a task, for example through a swipe-up.

Introducing modules of the system

Below, we introduce the three main crowdsourcing applications that Twitch supports. The first, Census, attempts to capture local knowledge. The following two, Image Voting and Structuring the Web, draw on creative and topical expertise. These three applications are bundled into one Android package, and each can be accessed interchangeably through Twitch's settings menu.

Module 1: Census

Problem/Limitations

Despite progress in producing effective understanding of static elements of our physical world — routes, businesses and points of interest — we lack an understanding of human activity. How busy is the corner cafe at 2pm on Fridays? What time of day do businesspeople clear out of the downtown district and get replaced by socializers? Which neighborhoods keep high-energy activities going until 11pm, and which ones become sleepy by 6pm? Users could take advantage of this information to plan their commutes, their social lives and their work.

Module preview

Existing crowdsourced techniques such as Foursquare are too sparse to answer these kinds of questions: the answers require at-the-moment, distributed human knowledge. We envision that twitch crowdsourcing can help create a human-centered equivalent of Google Street View, where a user could browse typical crowd activity in an area. To do so, we ask users to answer one of several questions about the world around them each time they unlock their phone. Users can then browse the map they are helping create.

System details

Census is the default crowdsourcing task in Twitch. It collects structured information about what people experience around them. Each Census unlock screen consists of four to six tiles (Figures 1 and 3), each task centered around questions such as: • How many people are around you? • What kinds of attire are nearby people wearing? • What are you currently doing? • How much energy do you have right now? While not exhaustive, these questions cover several types of information that a local census might seek to provide. Two of the four questions ask users about the people around them, while the other two ask about users themselves; both of which they are uniquely equipped to answer. Each answer is represented graphically; for example, in case of activities, users have icons for working, at home, eating, travelling, socializing, or exercising. To motivate continued engagement, Census provides two modes of feedback. Instant feedback (Figure 4) is a brief Android popup message that appears immediately after the user makes a selection. It reports the percentage of responses in the current time bin and location that agreed with the user, then fades out within two seconds. It is transparent to user input, so the user can begin interacting with the phone even while it is visible. Aggregated report allows Twitch users to see the cumulative effect of all users’ behavior. The data is bucketed and visualized on a map (Figure 2) on the Twitch homepage. Users can filter the data based on activity type or time of day.


Module 2: Photo Ranking

Problem/Limitations

Beyond harnessing local observations via Census, we wanted to demonstrate that twitch crowdsourcing could support traditional crowdsourcing tasks such as image ranking (e.g., Matchin [17]). Needfinding interviews and prototyping sessions with ten product design students at Stanford University indicated that product designers not only need photographs for their design mockups, but they also enjoy looking at the photographs. Twitch harnesses this interest to help rank photos and encourage contribution of new photos.

Module details

Photo Ranking crowdsources a ranking of stock photos for themes from a Creative Commons-licensed image library. The Twitch task displays two images related to a theme (e.g., Nature Panorama) per unlock and asks the user to slide to select the one they prefer (Figure 1). Pairwise ranking is considered faster and more accurate than rating [17]. The application regularly updates with new photos. Users can optionally contribute new photos to the database by taking a photo instead of rating one. Contributed photos must be relevant to the day’s photo theme, such as Nature Panorama, Soccer, or Beautiful Trash. Contributing a photo takes longer than the average Twitch task, but provides an opportunity for motivated individuals to enter the competition and get their photos rated. Like with Census, users receive instant feedback through a popup message to display how many other users agreed with their selection. We envision a web interface where all uploaded images can be browsed, downloaded and ranked. This data can also connect to computer vision research by providing high-quality images of object categories and scenes to create better classifiers.

Module 3: Structuring the Web

Problem/Limitations

Search engines no longer only return documents — they now aim to return direct answers [6,9]. However, despite massive undertakings such as the Google Knowledge Graph [36], Bing Satori [37] and Freebase [7], much of the knowledge on the web remains unstructured and unavailable for interactive applications. For example, searching for ‘Weird Al Yankovic born’ in a search engine such as Google returns a direct result ‘1959’ drawn from the knowledge base; however, searching for the equally relevant ‘Weird Al Yankovic first song’, ‘Weird Al Yankovic band members’, or ‘Weird Al Yankovic bestselling album’ returns a long string of documents but no direct answer, even though the answers are readily available on the performer’s Wikipedia page.

Module preview

To enable direct answers, we need structured data that is computer-readable. While crowdsourced undertakings such as Freebase and dbPedia have captured much structured data, they tend to only acquire high-level information and do not have enough contributors to achieve significant depth on any single entity. Likewise, while information extraction systems such as ReVerb [14] automatically draw such information from the text of the Wikipedia page, their error rates are currently too high to trust. Crowdsourcing can help such systems identify errors to improve future accuracy [18]. Therefore, we apply twitch crowdsourcing to produce both structured data for interactive applications and training data for information extraction systems.

Module details

Contributors to online efforts are drawn to goals that allow them to exhibit their unique expertise [2]. Thus, we allow users to help create structured data for topics of interest. The user can specify any topic on Wikipedia that they are interested in or want to learn about, for example HCI, the Godfather films, or their local city. To do so within a oneto-two second time limit, we draw on mixed-initiative information extraction systems (e.g., [18]) and ask users to help vet automatic extractions. When a user unlocks his or her phone, Structuring the Web displays a high-confidence extraction generated using ReVerb, and its source statement from the selected Wikipedia page (Figure 1). The user indicates with one swipe whether the extraction is correct with respect to the statement. ReVerb produces an extraction in SubjectRelationship-Object format: for example, if the source statement is “Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland Stanford as a memorial to their son”, ReVerb returns {Stanford University}, {was founded in}, {1885} and Twitch displays this structure. To minimize cognitive load and time requirements, the application filters only include short source sentences and uses color coding to match extractions with the source text. In Structuring the Web, the instant feedback upon accepting an extraction shows the user their progress growing a knowledge tree of verified facts (Figure 5). Rejecting an extraction instead scrolls the user down the article as far as their most recent extraction source, demonstrating the user’s progress in processing the article. In the future, we envision that search engines can utilize this data to answer a wider range of factual queries.