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Invincipedia - TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon 2011 - Bridgewater Prize

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Published on Sep 17, 2011

I particpated in a 24 hour hackathon before the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. During that time, I create a hack that seeks to find a balance between the wisdom of the unpaid and potentially biased crowd of Wikipedia with the paid but less biased mechanical turk crowd. More specifically, the project uses mechanical turk to verify and monitor Wikipedia changes and articles.

There are two main features of the hack. The first feature allows a Wikipedia article to be adopted by mechanical turk. An adopted article is monitored using the hack and all changes to the article are sent to mechanical turk for verification. Technically, this was done by creating a python module that links to a real-time IRC feed of the recent changes of Wikipedia. The feed is monitored for when an adopted article is changed. When an adopted article has been changed, a mechanical turk task is set up to verify that the change is correct.

The second feature of the hack is to verify that an entire article is correct. An individual submits an article that they would like to be verified. The hack then splits the article into smaller chunks that are verified and annotated with corrections using mechanical turk.

Thus, overall, this hack seeks to leverage the strengths and expertise of different crowds to create a stronger and more accurate article.

This hack won the Bridgewater Prize for bringing about new truth about reality. More about the prize:

Bridgewater is a top hedge fund located in Westport, Conneticut, here's a brief backgrounder: In our investment philosophy, as well as our culture, Bridgewater's most fundamental value is getting to truth about reality. Even simple truths can lie obscured until innovative technology comes along and capitalizes on a new insight or enables others to see reality more clearly.

The Bridgewater challenge for hackers: to reward hacks that bring to light — or enable others to bring to light — new truth or understanding about reality. Bridgewater will offer the most insightful (or insight-generating) app two platinum passes and travel to SXSW 2012. In case you need some inspiration or specific examples that illustrate ways in which this broad concept may be executed, think of technologies like Twitter Demographics that facilitates exploring what the Twitter community is talking about to develop a richer understanding of people's preferences, and the 2011 NYC Hackathon winner, Gilt-ii, that capitalizes on the insight that Gilt shoppers operate in a way that is inefficient by creating a secondary market to drive those inefficiencies out (and happens to have been created by two Bridgewater alums we wish the best of luck to as they now work on getting their own start-ups going). This challenge encapsulates their motto: "Trust in truth."

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