Title: Life, the Universe, and Information Processing
Speaker: Pietro Michelucci (Human Computation Institute)
Date: Tuesday, October 6th
Time: 12-1pm
Room: GHC 6501

Despite what some believe to be a looming technological “singularity,” when machines will purportedly become super-intelligent and hopefully save the world, humans today continue to be the most effective integrators and producers of information in the known universe.  We accomplish this directly and through the use of information-processing inventions, such as computing and network technologies. As these inventions become increasingly sophisticated, the human factor will draw upon our most complex cognitive abilities, such as abstract thinking, creativity, and working knowledge of the world. Examining what makes the human contribution unique and how it complements emerging technologies will help us anticipate human labor in a future filled with increasingly automated systems.  Additionally, through the advancement of human computation – novel methods that combine the respective strengths of humans and machines, we can expect to see human and machine based processing become more tightly integrated with each other, resulting in new capabilities. These collective human/machine systems will be able to model and predict physical, biological, and social processes with unprecedented accuracy, enabling more effective problem solving and decision making. Indeed, these systems may ultimately coalesce into a global organism with the capacity to address societies most wicked problems and achieve planetary stability.

Dr. Michelucci received a joint-PhD from Indiana University in Cognitive Science and Mathematical Psychology and has been a science advisor to federal research agencies since 2006. He has actively supported the advancement of Human Computation through a recent Springer handbook, a new open-access scholarly journal, various speaking engagements and workshops, interagencyinitiatives in Social Computing, and Citizen Science working groups. Recently, he led the Human Computation Roadmap Summit, a CRA-funded visioning activity at the Wilson Center, which included White House OSTP participation, toward a national initiative in Human Computation. As an Organismic Computing pioneer, he is interested in developing new methods for augmenting group intelligence and efficacy, and developing high-impact applications of the resultant capabilities that will benefit humanity.